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Apollonius (Rhodius.) 


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Mrs. C.E. Orpen 

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Ckanslator's Preface vii 


Cwo ancient Arguments of the " Argonautica ' . xv 


{oute of the argonauts xx 

Vfollonius's use of Possessive Adjectives and Per- 
sonal Pronouns xxiv 

'ranslation of the Poem with Notes ... I 


126238 Repi. 

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IN the fojlowing translation I have adhered strictly 
to the text of Apollonius Rhodius as revised by 
R. Merkel from the Lauren tian MS. (Leipzig, 1852, 
Teubner's small edition), without noticing any variant 

A 8 it would obviously be impossible to give reasons for 
adopting a particular reading out of several without add- 
ing greatly to the bulk of the book and running the risk 
of mystifying the reader, I have thought it advisable to 
adopt the plan of taking the best critical text which has 
hitherto appeared, and translating without any deviation 
from it. 

The footnotes added to the translation are of a some- 
what mixed nature — classical, mythological, geographical, 
and occasionally etymological — but all attempts at textual 
criticism have been avoided, as one could scarcely hope to 
exhaust the elaborate work on vexed questions in a short 
footnote, for which reason also the notes on etymology will 
be found few and brief. 

The short introductions to the poem and to each sepa- 
rate book are adaptations, more or less free, from the 
vTToBitruQ prefixed by the Scholiasts. Wellauers collation 
of the Scholia has been consulted throughout. 

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^jl the reign of Ptolemy Euergetes, either at Alexandria 
or at Naucratis. Strabo is in favour of the former, while 
Athenseus and iElian declare for the latter place. 

He appears to have given himself up at an early age to 
literary pursuits, and his choice is scarcely to be wondered 
at when we reflect upon the age in which he lived and 
the literary atmosphere in which he found himself. We 
are not expressly told whether it was choice or necessity 
that led him to select the career he did, but from the fact 
that the leading poet of that day took the young aspirant 
in hand and instructed him in his art, we may fairly infer 
that Apollonius was a man of some standing and position 
in life. His studies, howev er! under his master Cfl llimachns 
were not destined to do either pupil or tea cher much 
credit j no doubt he obtained some technical skill in his 
art, but the tastes of Callimachus and Apollonius were, so 
diametrically opposed that the two poets quarrelled, and 
allowed their professional jealousy to go to such lengths 
that Apollonius lampooned the style of his teacher, while 
Callimachus was weak enough to retaliate in a studied 


retort under the title of " Ibis,*' the character of which 
poem, though lost to us, may be gathered from Ovid's 
poem of the same name. 

Callima chus was the leading exp onent nf fhft strnin^d 
and artificial ^elrxjJtt his- day. Apollonius, wi lL-«sre 
tr ue artistic in sUnc^j^yolteil.irom -the- reality 
characte risti c of most of ^hisjcOTtemporar^ 
genuine admiration for the straightforw a rd simplicity of 
the E pic age, set him self to imitate Homer. Naturally he 
made many enemies among the host of poetasters who 
took their cue from the animosity shown to him by the 
" Laureate " of the Alexandrine court. Hence, when the 
" Argonautica " appeared, it was at once condemned as 
violating the accepted canons of style and composition, 
and partly, perhaps, owing to certain youthful crudities 
which were afterwards corrected. Great was the chagrin 
of the young poet at the reception of his work, and fierce 
was his anger against Callimachus. The position of the 
latter, however, was unassailable, and so Apollonius, after 
a fruitless wordy warfare, determined to seek some new 
opening for his genius. Accordingl y he had * fnrPWA.11 tn 
ungrateful Alexandria, and retir ed to E hodes, then the 
sec ond g reat sea t QjLliti^HI! 6 * taking his poem with 

Possibly experience had taught him wherein his poem was 
deficient. At any rate, he revised the whole of it ; and 
now, free from the cabals of jealous rivals, he rec eiver 
fair ve rdict, and at once rose to fame. S o popular, indeed, 
did he become on the reading of his poem, that the 
Rhodians, it is said, rewarded him with extraordinary 
honours, and conferred their franchise upon him. From 


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this incident in his career he came to be called "the 
Rhodian," a name which has clung to him for ever. 

It was only natural that in his hour of triumph he 
should long to have his merit acknowledged in his native 
city — in Alexandria, the gathering place of the old world's 
declining literature and art. Thither, therefore, he came, 
with his honours upon him, and whether it was that 
Callimachus and his followers were out of favour, or 
whether the Alexandrines had relented towards their ill- 
used poet, certain it is that he attained to great celebrity, 
and was advanced to valuable posts of trust. Henceforth 
he could afford to rest upon his hardly-won laurels, his 
period of " Sturm und Drang 99 was over ; he had passed 
through the fire, and it had done him no hurt — weighed 
in the balance he had not been found wanting. 

Of his life henceforth we learn but little, beyond what 
Suidas tells us as to his having be come librarian in the 
va st royal museum at Alexan dria, abo ut b.c. 194. It may 
well be that this was so; for the Ptolemies, in whose 
reigns Apollonius lived and wrote, were monarchs not 
unlikely to bestow such an important literary post upon 
a man of marked ability and studious habits. Assuming 
that Suidas is correct in his statement, we find plenty of 
internal evidence in the poem to suggest that the writer 
must have been a man of vast erudition, or have had at 
his command extensive stores of knowledge from which 
to draw his materials. 

During this period of his life the poet was not idle. 
Imbued to some extent with the spirit of his age, he 
produced works at a great pace; epigrams, grammars, 
and the so-called rnVttc, i.e. poems on the origin and 

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foundation of towns, but all these are lost to us save a 
few mutilated fragments and stray lines preserved in 
other writers. 

In the library at Alexandria he remained until his 
death in b.c. 181, happy enough, no doubt, amongst the 
endless treasures of that vast repository of art and 

Of his work that has come down to us, too little notice 
has been taken by English scholars ; for though his style 
at times bears too evident traces of laboured study, the 
structure of his poem is simple and straightforward. The 
mind is no t burdened by a multiplicity of episo des, the 
descriptions are singularly beautiful, and the simi les, 
which are abundant and varied, show the hand of a mas ter, 
who, if he did sometimes imitate, had at least something 
graceful of his own to add to what he borrowed, and not 
infrequently paid back his loan with interest. 

The work found numerous commentators in ancient 
times, to whom we are indebted for the Florentine and 
Parisian Scholia. Moreover, Apollonius was very popular 
among the Romans ; so much so that his poem was trans- 
lated by Publius Terentius Varro Atacinus, and was 
imitated by Valerius Flaccus and many others. 

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±_ Poseidon, Neleus and Pelias ; she afterwards wedded 
Cretheus, son of iEolus, and bore to him JEson, Pheres, and 
Amythaon. From JSson sprang Jason; from Pheres, 
Admetus ; from Amythaon, Melampus. 

Now Jason was handed over to the Centaur Chiron to be 
brought up and to learn the art of healing ; while JSson, his 
father, left the kingdom to Pelias, his own brother, bidding 
him rule Thessaly until Jason's return from Chiron. But 
Pelias had received an oracle from Apollo, bidding him 
beware of a man who should come with only one sandal ; 
for by him should he be slain. 

So Jason grew up, and came to his uncle, for to take his 
share in his father's kingdom. But wheu he came to the 
river Anaurus, which is in Thessaly, wishing to ford it, 
there upon the bank he found Hera in the disguise of an 
old dame, and she would cross, but was afraid. Then did 
Jason take her upon his shoulders, and carry her safe over, 
but one sandal left he in the mud in the middle of the 
river. Thence he fared to the city with his one sandal, and 
there he found an assembly of the folk, and Pelias doing 
sacrifice to the gods. When Pelias saw him thus he 
minded him of the oracle, and being eager to be rid of him 
he set him this task, that he should go to Scythia in quest 

Salmoneus, had two sons by 

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of the golden fleece, and then receive the kingdom. Now 
this he did from no wish for the fleece, but because he 
thought that Jason would be slain by some man in that 
strange land, or be shipwrecked. 

This is the story of the golden fleece. 


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ATHAMAS, the son of iEolus, and brother of Cre- 
theus, had to wife Nephele first, and begat two 
children, Phrixus and Helle. When Nephele died, he 
married Ino, who did plot against the children of Nephele, 
and persuaded her country-women to roast the seed for 
sowing ; but the earth, receiving roasted seed, would not 
bear her yearly crops. So Athamas sent to Delphi to in- 
quire about the barrenness ; but Ino bribed his messengers, 
telling them to return and say, that the god had answered 
that Helle and Phrixus must be sacrificed if they wanted 
the barrenness to cease. Wherefore Athamas was per- 
suaded, and placed them at the altar ; but the gods in pity 
snatched them away through the air by means of the ram 
with the golden fleece ; now Helle let go, and fell into the 
sea that bears her name, while Phrixus landed safe in 
Colchis. There he offered up the ram to Zeus, who helped 
his flight, for that he had escaped the plot of his step- 
mother. And having married Chalciope, daughter of 
JEetes, king of the Scythians, he begat four sons, Argus, 
Cytissorus, Melas, and Phrontis. And there he died. 

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THERE is no particular difficulty in following Argo on her 
outward voyage, or in identifying the numerous places 
mentioned by Apollonius along the route ; indeed, his knowledge 
of the geography up to J£a, the goal of the enterprise, is singularly 
accurate. It is when we attempt to follow his account of the 
return journey, which was made by a different route, that we 
find ourselves utterly perplexed, and forced to the conclusion 
that our author has been drawing purely from imagination, 
without any idea of the impossibility of the course which he 
assigns to the heroes. 

However, we purpose to give the route as described by the 
poet, noticing difficulties as they occur, though we 6hall not 
attempt to correct geographical errors in an account which by 
no conceivable theory can be reconciled with actual fact. 

The expedition starts from Iolchos in Thessaly (i. 6728). The 
ship Argo is moored in the river Anaurus (i. 820). Leaving the 
harbour of Pagasae (i. 528), the Argonauts sail through the 
Sinus Pelasgicus, past the promontory of Tisa (i. 568) and the 
headland of Sepias (i. 582) ; then coasting between the island of 
Sciathus (i. 583) and along the Thessalian coast, past the tomb 
of Dolops (i. 584), Meliboea (i. 592), the mouth of the river 
Amyrus (i. 596), Eurymense (i. 597), and the spurs of Ossa and 
Olympus (i. 598), they make right across the mouth of the Ther- 
maic gulf to the promontory of Pallene (i. 599) ; thence, after 
sighting Mount Athos (i. 601), they steer for Lemnos (i. 608). 
After some stay in this island, they go out of their course to the 
isle of Electra or Samotbrace, for the sake of certain mysteries 
(i. 916) ; then keeping Thrace on the left of the ship and Imbros 
on the right, they sail across the JSgean Sea (i. 928) to the 

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mouth of the Hellespont (i. 928). Through the Hellespont they 
sail past Rhoeteum, Ilium, Abydos, Percote, Abarnis, and so to 
Cyzicus, then an island, now mainland (i. 929 sqq.) in the Pro- 
pontis. Next they pass the mouth of the river iEsepus (i. 940) 
and come to the harbour and bay of Chytus (i. 987), but at this 
point they are caught by contrary winds and driven back again 
to Cyzicus (i. 1110). Halting here awhile they go inland to 
ascend Mount Dindymus and spy out their further route ; then 
go on again across the mouth of the river Rhyndacus in Mysia 
(i. 1165) until they reach the headland of Posideum (i. 1279), 
near to which live the savage Bebryces, whom they encounter 
and defeat (ii. 1 sqq.) at the mouth of the Bosporus. Thence, 
after meeting the blind prophet Phineus in Bithynia (ii. 177), 
they pass through the dreadful Symplegades or Cyanean Bocks, 
which guard the entrance to the Euxine Sea (ii. 560 sqq.) ; 
coasting along Bithynia (ii. 621) they pass the mouth of the 
river Bhebas (ii. 652), the rock of Colone, the Black Headland 
(ii. 653), the river Phyllis (ii. 654), the river Calpe (ii. 661), and 
anchor at the Thynian island (ii. 675). Next they cross the 
mouth of the river Sangarius (ii. 724), passing the territory of 
the Mariandyni (ii. 725), the river Lycus, lake Anthemous, the 
river Acheron and its haven (ii. 726 sqq.) ; thence past river 
Callichorus (ii. 906), the river Parthenius (ii. 938), Sesamus (ii. 
943), Erythini, and the heights of Crobialus, Cromna, Cytorus 
and Carambis in Paphlagonia (ii. 945) ; after this they pass 
Sinope (ii. 948), the river Halys (ii. 965), the river Thermodon 
(ii. 972), the Amazons and Chalybes (ii. 987 sqq.), the Tibareni, 
Mos8ynoeci (ii. 1012 sqq.) t land at the isle of Ares and rescue the 
sons of Chalciope (ii. 1033) ; thence to the isle of Philyra (ii. 
1234), past the territory of the Macrones, Becheiri, Sapeirse, 
Byzeres, till they sight the range of Caucasus and the limit of 
their voyage (ii. 1245 sqq.) ; they now enter the river Phasis, 
the river of Colchis, wherein lies the isle of JE& (ii. 1264). 

The Argonauts have thus reached M&. Their voyage as 
sketched by Apollonius is singularly accurate, and it is clear that 
he must have been familiar with the geography to have given 
such an exhaustive list of places, hills, and rivers. 

Briefly the voyage amounts to this. The Argonauts leave the 
Pelasgicus Sinus (Gulf of Volo), coast along Thessaly to Ther- 
maicus Sinus (Gulf of Salonica), steer across Mg&um Mare 
(Archipelago) to the Hellespont (Dardanelles) ; through this 
strait into the Propontis (Sea of Marmara) ; through the Bos- 
porus into the Euxine (Black Sea). 

Except when they cross the Archipelago, their voyage is 
almost entirely a coasting one, and is easy to follow on a map. 

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The return route retraces their steps as far as the river Halys 
in Paphlagonia ( iv. 245 ) , but then, instead of rounding the headland 
of Carambis and following the coast-line (iv. 300), they strike 
out a new course across the open sea to the mouth of the Ister 
(Danube) (iv. 302). From this point very little information is 
afforded us by Apollonius as to the places through which the 
heroes passed. Certain names indeed are mentioned, but they 
are difficult to identify or localize, e.g., Mount Anchurus (iv. 
323), the rock of Cauliacus (iv. 324), the plain of Laurium (iv. 
326), the Brygian isles (iv. 330). Apollonius was evidently 
aware of the weakness of his own geography, and avoids all 
details concerning this remarkable river-voyage ; he eventually 
brings the heroes out into the Adriatio near the peninsula of 

impossibility of this route, owing to rocks, rapids, cataracts, 
and an impassable current ; nor are we told into what river the 
Argonauts made their way out of the Ister in order to arrive at 
the Adriatio at all. After this they steer towards the Italian 
coast, passing the islands of Issa, Dusceladus, Pityeia, Corcyra 
the Black (iv. 563), Melite, Cerossus, Nymphaea, and the 
Ceraunian hills (iv. 570 sqq.) ; they come to the Eridanus (Po) 
(iv. 594), and apparently sailing right across northern Italy, gain 
by some unaccountable means the river Bhone (iv. 625). Here 
again we are not informed how they achieved this remarkable 
feat; the poet seems to labour under the delusion that the 
Eridanus and Bhone are connected, and that a continuous 
voyage is possible. Next the heroes are somewhat vaguely said 
to pass through the territory of the Celts and Ligyans (iv. 645), 
but no further point on their course is mentioned until they 
arrive at the Stoechades Insula* (Is. d'Hicres, off the southern 
coast of Provence) (iv. 652) ; thence they sail across the open 
sea (Mediterranean) to the isle of ^Ethalia, passing above 
Corsica (iv. 652), and so by a long coasting voyage along Italy 
they reach the JSssan harbour and the promontory of Circe (iv. 
659) ; thence passing the island of the Sirens (iv. 890) they come 
to the iEolian isles, run the gauntlet of Scylla and Charybdis in 
the straits between Italy and Sicily (iv. 920 sqq.), coast round the 
bottom of Italy, and land at Drepane, i.e. Corcyra, where the 
Phseacians live (iv. 980 sqq.) ; from Drepane they coast along 
Epirus, Ambracia, and Acarnania, till they reach the Echinades 
Insula (iv. 1228) ; but here they are caught by a violent tem- 
pest and driven to the Syrtis Minor of Africa (iv. 1233). Being 
unable to get out of the quicksands they carry Argo overland 
to lake Tritonis (iv. 1389), and, launching her again, sail out to 
sea. Apparently they now made a very circuitous voyage along 
the coasts of Africa and Asia Minor until they were opposite to 


the island of Carpathus, which they are said to pass ; from 
thence they came to Crete (iv. 1635) ; thence through the 
Sporades into the iEgean to jEgina (iv. 1764) ; then along the 
coast of Attica and between Eubcea and the Opuntian Locri (iv. 
1779), through the Sinus Pelasgicus, to Pagasae, whence they 
had started. 

The return voyage teems with such insurmountable difficul- 
ties, and is altogether so hopelessly confused and mythical, that 
it would be a mere waste of time and patience to attempt to 
follow it on a modern map. 

We can only indicate briefly the course the heroes are said to 
have taken. After crossing the Euxine (Black Sea), they rowed 
through river-ways right across Dacia, Moesia, Illyria, and 
Dalmatia (Bulgaria, Servia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina), into the 
Adriatic ; sailing to Italy they cross the northern part by the 
Eridanus (Po) ; sail into the Rhone, thence into the Mediter- 
ranean ; right across to the west coast of Italy, along which they 
pass ; through the Lipari islands and the strait of Messina ; up 
the east coast of Italy to the Adriatic again ; thence driven by 
storms they come to the African coast; being caught in the 
shoals of the Syrtis they carry Argo overland to lake Tritonis 
(Bahr Faraouni in Tunis), and finding an outlet into the Medi- 
terranean, sail along the African coast to the coast of Asia 
Minor, and so into the iEgean homewards. 

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EPIC poets after Homer, and perhaps none more than Apol- 
lonius, affect a singular licence in the use of possessive 
adjectives, and to a less extent of personal pronouns, confusing 
their strict meaning to such a degree, that it may be of Borne 
service to collect in a short scheme examples of Apollonius' 
more notable divergences from classical usage. 

L otptoiripoc, the possessive adj. of the 2nd person dual, does 
duty for- 
te) Possessive adj. of 2nd person singular. Cf. iii. 395. 
Possessive adj. of 3rd person singular. Cf. i. 648 ; iii. 
335, 600, 625. 
(y) Possessive adj. of 3rd person plural. Cf. i. 1286. 

II. <7^rfpoc, the possessive adj. of 3rd person plural, does duty 
te) Possessive adj. of 3rd person singular. Cf. iii. 186, 


(/3) Possessive adj. of 2nd person plural. Cf. iv. 1325. 

III. toe, the possessive adj. of 3rd person singular, does duty 
for — 

(a) Possessive adj. of 2nd person singular. Cf. ii. 636 ; 
iii. 140. 

Possessive adj. of 3rd person plural. Cf. i. 1113 ; iii. 327. 

IV. The personal pronoun of 3rd person singular does duty 
te) 1st person singular. Cf. ii. 637 ; iii. 99. 

(/3) 2nd person singular. Cf. i. 893. 

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Pelias, in alarm, sends Jason to Colchis to fetch the golden fleece. 
So Jason gathers the chieftains, and is chosen captain himself. After 
launching Argo they sail on without adventure as far as Lemnos, where 
they stay awhile, and are hospitably received by Hypsipyle the queen. 
Thence they come to the Doliones and their king Cyzicus, and are 
kindly entertained. Giants withstand them at Dindymus, but these 
are shot Heracles. On the same night a storm drives the ship back 
to Cyzicus, and in the darkness they and the Doliones come to blows, 
and Cyzicus is slain. After mourning for him, they sail on to Mysia, 
where Hylas is lost, and Heracles, who will not be comforted, is left 
behind with Polyphemus. 

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ITH thee, Phoebus, will I begin and record the 

V V famous deeds of those men of old time, who, at the 
bidding of king Pelias, rowed the good ship Argo past the 
mouth of the Euxine and through the rocks Cyanean 1 to 
fetch the golden fleece. 

For Pelias had heard an oracle on this wise, thi^ in the 
latter days a hateful doom awaited him, even deajj* at the 
prompting of one whom he should see come forth from the 
people with but one sandal. And not long after, according 
to the sure report, came Jason on foot across the stream of 
a swollen torrent, and one sandal did he save from 'neath 
the mud, but the other left he there sticking in the river- 
bed. So he came to Pelias forthwith to take a part in the 
solemn feast, which he was offering to his father Poseidon 
and the other gods, but to Pelasgian Hera 2 he paid no 
heed. And the instant Pelias saw Jason, he was ware of 
him, and made ready to his hurt a grievous task of seaman- 

1 Kvavtat irirpai, elsewhere called ITXtrycrai and ^vfiTrXrjyadtQ. These 
famous rocks, which are also mentioned by Homer and Euripides, were 
said to guard the entrance to the Pontus. 

2 The poet, whilst noticing the favour borne by Hera to Jason, gives 
no reason for the neglect shown to her by Pelias. 

Tle\a<ryldoc here = etaffdKiKiig ; the Pelasgi inhabiting Phthiotis in 
Thessaly. Cf. Horn. 11. it. 681. 

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ship, that so he might lose his return in the deep or haply 
among strange folk. 

Now minstrels even before my day do tell how Argus by 
the counsels of Athene built a ship for him ; but mine 
shall it now be to declare the lineage and name of the 
heroes, and their passage of the long sea, and all that they 
did in their wanderings ; and may the Muses be the 
heralds of my song ! 

First then let us make mention o f Orpheus ; he it was, 
whom, on a day, as rumour saith, Calliope bare beside the 
peak of Pimpleia, her pledge of love to Thracian (Eager. 
He, men say, did charm the stubborn rocks upon the hills 
and the river streams by the strains of his minstrelsy. 
And wild oaks, memorials yet of that his singing, which 
he had led right on from Pieria by the spell of his lyre, 
marched in ordered ranks, each behind his fellow, to range 
themselves, with all their leaves, upon the fringe of the 
Thracian shore. So mighty a man was Orpheus, whom 
the son of -ZEJson, by the counsels of Chiron, did persuade 
and take to help him in his toils from his kingship over 
Bistonian Pieria. 

Anon came Asterionj he it was whom Cometes did beget 
by the waters ot swirling Apidanus, when he dwelt in 
Peiresia, hard by the Phylleian hill, where mighty Apidanus 1 
and divine Enipeus do unite, flowing into one stream from 
their distant sources. 

To these came Polyphemus, 2 son of Elatus, having left 
Larissa ; who erstfwhat time the LapithsB armed against 

1 The Apidanus and Enipeus, two rivers in Thessaly. The Phylleian 
mountain is in Macedonia. Peiresia, or Pieria, name of a Macedonian 
district and town. 

3 The Polyphemus here mentioned is not the same as the giant 
shepherd of Sicily, whom Odysseus blinded. This hero, who figures 
afterwards as the loyal and trusty friend of Heracles, had already dis- 
tinguished himself in the famous battle between the Lapithae and the 
Centaurs at the wedding feast of Pirithous. 

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L. 17-66.] THE ARGON AUTICA. 5 

the Centaurs, joined the fray as the youngest of the mighty 
Lapithae Now on that day were his limbs weighed down 
with wine, but firm abode his warlike spirit still, even as 

No long space was Iphj ^lfij uncle of the son of ^3son, 
left behind in Phylace ; for JEsow had wedded his sister, 
Alcimede of Phylace ; whence the claims of blood and kith 
bade him enrol himself in the muster. 

M>ither did Admetus, lord of Pheree, rich in sheep, abide 
beneath the peak of the Chalcodonian mountain. 

Erytus and Echion too, sons of Hermes, well skilled in 
craftiness, and ricn in broad cornlands, lingered not in 
Alope ; and yet a third arrived to join them as they were 
starting, iEthaMes, their kinsman ; 1 him by the stream of 
Myrmidonian Amphrysus did Eupolemeia, maid of Phthia, 
bear ; but those other twain were sons of Antianeira, 
daughter of Menetes. 

Came too Coronus, son of Caeneus, 2 leaving rich Gryrton, a 
goodly man, yet scarce his father's match. For minstrels 
tell how Cseneus, though he liveth yet, was slain by the 
Centaurs; what time, alone and apart from the other 
chiefs, he routed them ; and, when they suddenly rallied 
again, they could not make him give way nor slay him ; 
but he, unconquered and unflinching, passed beneath the 
earth, smitten by the heavy pines they hurled on him. 

Next came M opsus . sprung from Titaron ; him the son 
of Leto had taught the augury of birds beyond all men ; 

1 yvujrbg here as elsewhere in Apollonius Rhodias means " kinsman,' 1 
not " well-known." 

2 Creneus took part in the battle between the Lapithae and Centaurs. 
Ovid, Metam. xii. 171 sqq., relates how Caeneus had originally been a 
beautiful maiden named Csenis ; this maiden Poseidon loved and changed 
into a man who should be invulnerable ; so when in the battle the Cen- 
taurs could not kill Creneus with sword or spear, they buried him alive 
beneath a mass of trees, but even so his spirit sped away in the form of 
a bird. 

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likewise came Eurydamas, son of Ctimenus, -who had hi» , 
dwelling in Dolopian Ctimene, nigh unto the Xunian 1 

Moreover Actor sent forth his son Mencetius from Opus, 
to go with the chieftains. 

And Eurytion followed, and valiant Eribat es ; one the 
son of Teleon, the other of Irus, son of Actor; verily, 
famous Eribotes was sprung from Teleon, and Eurytion 
had Irus for his sire. With these went a third. 0%ub. 
matchless for chivalry, and skilled enow in rushing on the 
rear of the foe, what time their ranks give way. 

From Eubcea Canthus hied him forth ; he it was whom 
Canethus, son of Abas, was sending with eager feet ; yet 
was he never to turn again and reach Cerinthus. For his 
fate it was with Mopsus, that skilled diviner, to wander to 
his death in the utmost ends of Libya. For of evils none 
is too far away for man to meet therewith ; seeing that 
men buried those twain even in Libya, as far from Colchis 
as the rising and the setting of the sun are seen to be from 
each other. 

Next then gathered to the muster Clytiu s an d Iphitu gu. 
wardens of (Echalia, sons of Eurytus the harsh — that 
Eurytus, to whom the far-darting god gave a bow ; yet had 
he no joy of the gift, for of his own choice he strove with 
the giver himself. 

After tfiese the sons of ^acus joined the quest ; they 
came not both together, nor from the same place ; for they 
dwelt apart, keeping aloof from iEgina, since the day, 
when in their witlessness they slew their kinsman Phocus. 
Now Telamon had settled in Salamis, isle of Attica ; while 
Peleus went away and builded him a home in Phthia. 

Next came the warrior Butes from Cecropia, the son of 

1 The Xunian lake is in Thessaly. The Scholiast says it was so 
called from being on the confines of Thessaly and Boeotia, and so common 
(gvi'ov = koivov) to both j it was not far from lake Bcebe. 

- — ■ W gi l i iW l' b y Google 

l. 67-111.] 


goodly Teleon, and Phalerus of the stout ashen spear. 
Alcon, his sire, had sent him forth, albeit he had no other 
sons to nurse the evening of his life ; yet for all he was 
his well-beloved, 1 yea, his only-begotten, still would he 
send him to win renown among those heroes bold. 

But Theseus , who far excelled all the sons of Erechtheus, 
did an unseen 2 bond keep back beneath the land of Taenarus, 
for thither had he gone along with Peirithous. Verily 
these twain might 3 have made the accomplishment of their 
toil lighter for them all. 

And 1^E!!X2,» 8011 °f Hagnias, left his Thespian folk in 
Siphas ; a cunning prophet he to foretell a rising tumult 
amid the waves of the wide sea, and cunning to divine 
storms of wind and the course of a ship from the sun and 
the stars. Him did Tritonian Athene herself rouse to the 
gathering of the chiefs, and he came amongst men eager for 
his coming ; for it was Athene, too, that builded the swift 
ship, and with her had Argus, son of Arestor, fashioned it 

1 Tt]\vytTog. Whatever be the derivation of this much-disputed word, 
one meaning seems to cling to it throughout Apolionius Rhodius, and it 
is to be remembered that the Alexandrine usage of words does not 
necessarily correspond with that of earlier writers. The Alexandrine 
etymology was not unfrequently very faulty ; and so in translating this 
doubtful Homeric word as " well-beloved," from the idea of affection 
naturally attaching to the last born child, we shall be following the 
meaning of the author, although perhaps he misunderstood the word 

2 atSrjXog, Apolionius greatly affects the use of Homeric words, 
though not by any means always in their Homeric sense, which possibly 
was misinterpreted by the critics of Alexandria. The word aidrjXog is 
used here and elsewhere by the poet in the sense of " unseen," probably 
from a false etymology, though into a controversy upon Homeric words, 
which are still in many cases " sub judice," we cannot here attempt to 

Theseus, attempting to carry off Persephone from Hades, was over- 
come and bound by an invisible agency to a rock from which he could 
not rise. 

3 An ellipse of " if they had been there." 

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by her counsels. Wherefore was Argo far the best of all 
the barques that ever crossed the sea with oars. 

Next came P hlias from Arsethyrea, where he dwelt in 
plenty by the grace of Dionysus, his father, in his home 
by the springs of Asopus. 

From Argos came forth Talaus and Are ius, two sons of 
Bias; and mighty Leodocus , whom Pero, daughter of 
Neleus, bare; for her sake Melampus, son of JEolus, 
endured grievous misery in the steading of Iphiclus. 

Nor are we told that mighty Heracles, stout of heart, 
made light of the earnest prayer of the son of iEson. Nay, 
when he heard the report that the heroes were gathering, 
he changed his path anew from Arcadia and came to 
Lyrceian Argos, whither he was bringing alive a boar that 
battened in the glens of Lampeia 1 beside the vast marsh of 
Erymanthus ; and he cast him down from off his mighty 
back, fast bound in chains, at the entrance to the assembly 
of the Mycenseans, while himself started off as he listed 
against the purpose of Eurystheus; and with him came 
Hylas, his trusty squire, in the bloom of youth, to bear his 
arrows and to keep his bow. 

Next came the son of divine Danaus, Nauplius . Lo! 
he was son of Clytoneus, the child of Naubolus ; and 
Naubolus was the son of Lernus ; and of Lernus we are 
told that he was the son of Prcetus, whom Nauplius begat ; 
for the maid Amymone, daughter of Danaus, in days gone 
by, bare, from the embraces of Poseidon, Nauplius, who far 
excelled all men in seamanship. 

And last of those, who dwelt in Argos, came Idmon; 
for he would be there, although from augury he knewTiis 
fate ; lest the people should grudge him a fair fame. He, 
of a truth, was no son of Abas, but the child of Leto him- 
self begat him to swell the number of the famous race of 

1 A mountain in Arcadia, in which the river Erymanthus rises. 

l. 112-173.] 



iEolus ; 1 yea, and himself did teach him divination, and to 
heed the flight of birds, and to read signs in blazing fire. 

Moreover, JEtolian Leda sent forth from Sparta strong 
Polydeuces and Castor^ skilled to curb fleet steeds ; these, 
her well- beloved sons, she bare at one birth in the halls of 
Tyndarus, and when they would go she said not nay, for 
her thoughts were worthy the bride of Zeus. 

From Arene came the sons of Apharetus, Lvnceu s and 
Idas^ of overweening pride, both too confident in their great 
strength ; and Lynceus too excelled in the keenness of his 
sight, if that is really a true legend, that he could see with 
ease a man even beneath the earth. 

And with them Perinlymftiius. son of Neleus, started to go, 
eldest of all the children that were born to divine Neleus 
in Pylos ; him Poseidon gifted with boundless might, and 
granted that 2 whatsoever he should pray to be during the 
fray, that should he become in the stress of battle. 

Again, from Arcadia came Amph idamas and C epheus, 
who dwelt in Tegea, the heritage of Apheidas, the two sons 
of Aleus ; and eke a third followed in their train, Ancaeus, 
whom his own father Lycurgus was sending ; he was elder 
brother to those twain, but was left behind in the city that 
he might care for Aleus in his old age, but he sent his own 
son to join his brethren. And the young man went on his 
way, brandishing the skin of a bear of Maenalus, and in his 
right hand a great two-edged axe. For his grandsire 
Aleus had hidden his weapons in an inner closet, if haply 
he might stay him even yet from setting out. 

There came too Augeas , who, legend saith, is son to 
Helios ; and over the men of Elis this prince held sway, 

1 jEoIus, the son of Hellen, had two sons, Cretheus and Athamas j 
iEsoa was the son of Cretheus ; Jason, the son of JEson. 

2 Periclymenus had the power of changing his shape at will during 

• to here is demonstrative = u that." 

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glorying in his wealth ; but greatly did he long to see the land 
of Colchis and JSetes in person, the leader of the Co jchians. 

And Asteriu s and Amphiqn . sons of Hyperasius, came 
from Achaean Pellene, which on a day their grandsire 
Pelles founded on the crags by the sea-shore. 

To these, again, came E uphemus , leaving Tsenarus ; he 
it was whom Europe, daughter of Tityus, of giant strength, 
bare, outstripping all in speed of foot. He would run 
upon the sea's gray swell, and never wet his swift feet; 
but, moistening just the soles thereof, he sped along his 
watery 1 path. 

And there came two other sons of Poseidon ; the one, to 
wit, Erginus, who had left the town of noble Miletus ; the 
other, An cfleus , the proud, who had come from Parthenie, 
seat of Imbrasian 3 Hera ; both these boasted their knowledge 
of seacraft and of war. 

Next came valian t Meleage r, son of (Eneus, having 
started from Calydon, and Laocoon too, who was brother 
of (Eneus ; yet were they not sons of one mother, but him 
did a bondwoman bear ; he it was whom (Eneus sent, now 
that he was grown up, to guard his child ; so while yet a 
youth he entered that brave band of heroes, and none, me- 
thinks, mightier than he had come, save Heracles alone, if 
he had stayed but one year 3 longer there and been trained 

1 Suprj. The meaning of this word in this passage at any rate is 
clearer than its etymology. From the context it obviously = " wet," 
but Homeric scholars will remember passages in which this rendering is 

2 'Ipflpaoitjc, i.e. Samian. Tne Imbrasus is a river in Samos, near 
which, according to one legend, Hera spent her early years. 

3 XvKaftavra. It is difficult on etymological grounds to account for 
this word. Both in Homer and in the Alexandrine imitators of his 
style it seems to mean "a year." One derivation connects it with 
Xwcij /3at*>w = the path of light, i.e. the sun's course, i.e. the year ; but 
this is scarcely less fanciful than the Scholiast's suggestion that it is a 
variant form of Xvya/3avra, from \vyov, * an osier," the colour of which, 
he says, is black, " and with blackness the year departs." 

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L. 174-231.] THE ARGONAUTICA. 11 

up amongst the iEtolians. And lo ! his uncle Iphielus, the 
son of Thestius, bare him company on that journey, a 
spearman good, and skilled enow as well to match himself 
with any in close fight. 

And with him was Palaem onius, son of Lernus, of Olenus ; 
son of Lernus men called him, but he drew his lineage from 
Hephaestus, wherefore he was lame of foot ; but none would 
have the hardihood to scorn his form and manliness, where- 
fore he too was numbered amongst the other chiefs, swel- 
ling the fame of Jason. 

From the Phociansj then came Ij>lnjUiS, sprung from 
Naubolus, son of Ornytus ; now he had been Jason's host 
aforetime when he came to Pytho to ask an oracle about 
his voyage ; for there did Iphitus receive him in his halls. 

Next came the sons of Boreas, Calais and Zetes, whom, 
on a day, Oreithyia, daughter of Erechtheus, bare to Boreas 
at the verge of wintry Thrace ; thither it was that Thracian 
Boreas had snatched her away from Cecropia, as she was 
circling in the dance by the banks of the Ilissus. And 
from afar he brought her to the spot men call Sarpedon's 
rock, beside the stream of the river Erginus, and there he 
shrouded her in dark clouds, and had his will of her. 
These his two sons made strong pinions move on either 
ancle as they rose, a mighty marvel to behold, radiant with 
scales of gold ; and about their backs, from the crown of 
the head and on either side the neck, dark hair was waving 
in the breeze. 

Nor yet had Acastus, son of stalwart Pelias himself, any 
longing to abide within his father's house ; nor Argus 
either, servant of the goddess Athene jnay, for they too, I 
ween, were to be counted in the muster! 

LThis, then, is the tale of those who^athered to the son 
f JEson to aid him with their counsel ; whom the neigh- 
bouring folk called Minyan chieftains, one and all, since 
most of them, and those the best, avowed them to be of the 

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blood of the daughters of Minyai ; even so Alcimede, the 
mother of Jason himself, was sprung from Clymene, a 
daughter of Minyas. 

Now when the thralls had made all things ready, where- 
with ships are furnished for their freight, whenso business 
calls men to make a voyage across the sea ; in that hour 
they betook them to the ship through the city to the place 
men call the headland of Pagasae, 1 in Magnesia ; and around 
them a crowd of folk ran thronging eagerly; but they 
showed like bright stars amid clouds, and thus would each 
man say as he gazed on them flashing in their harness : 
" King Zeus, what is the intent of Pelias ? whither is he 
sending such a muster of heroes from out the Panachsean a 
land ? They will sack the homes of ^Eetes with baleful fire 
the very day they see them, if so be he give them not the 
fleece of his own accord. But the voyage may not be 
shunned, nor shall their toil be fruitless, if they go." 

So spake they, one here, one there throughout the city ; 
and the women lifted up their hands full oft toward 
heaven to the immortal gods, praying that they would 
grant the accomplishment of their return as their heart 
desired. And one to another would thus complain through 
her tears : " Ah, hapless Alcimede, to thee too hath sorrow 
come, late though it be, nor hast thou finished thy course 
with joy. Surely ^son is a man of sorrows, and that in no 
small measure. Yea, better for him had it been, if ere this 
he had been wrapped in his shroud 3 and were lying 'neath 
the earth, a stranger still to evil enterprises. Would that 
the black wave had engulfed Phrixus too, fleece and all, 

1 Pagasae, the starting-point and also the landing-place on the return 
of the expedition, is a headland of Magnesia ; there was a harbour there 
in the historical days of the Greek states. 

2 Thessaly is called Panachsean because it was first named Achaea, 
from Achaeus, the son of Xuthas. 

3 rrkpza generally = possessions of any kind, here = shroud. Cf. 

L. 232-281.] • THE ARGONAUTICA 

on the day that the maiden Helle perished ! But no ! that 
prodigy of ill uttered 1 a human voice, that it might bring 
grief and countless woes to Alcimede, in days to come/V- 

Thus would the women speak as the heroes went oh their 
way forth. And many thralls, both men and maids, were 
already gathering, and his mother flung herself on Jason's 
neck. For piercing grief had entered each woman's breast ; 
and with her his father, bowed by baleful age, made moan 
upon his bed, closely veiled from head to foot. 

And Jason, the while, was soothing their grief with 
words of comfort ; but he signed to the thralls to take up 
his weapons of war, and they in silence and with downcast 2 
look took them up. But his mother, so soon as she had 
thrown her arms around her boy, so clung to him, while 
her sobs 3 came ever more thick and fast ; as when a maiden 
in her solitude is fain to cast her arms about her gray- 
haired nurse and weep, one who hath none left to defend 
her, but she leads a cruel life under a step-mother, who ill- 
treats her tender years with many a flout; and as she 
weeps, her heart within her is held fast in misery, nor can 
she utter 4 half the grief she yearneth to ; even thus was Al- 
cimede weeping loud and long, as she held her son in her 
arms. And in her affliction she spake this word : " Ah ! 
would that I had straight given up the ghost and so for- 
gotten my troubles, on the day I heard king Pelias declare 
to my sorrow his evil hest, that thou, my child, with thine 

1 The ram which rescued Phrixus and Helle from the cruelty of 
their step-mother Ino had the power of human speech. 

3 KarrjifrttQ literally = " with heads bowed down with woe." 

3 xKaiovaa ddivwrtpov. Another Homeric phrase. d$iv6<; = thick, 
close ; so the meaning seems to be " with sobs coming quicker and 
quicker upon each other ; " perhaps " choking " is an English equiva- 
lent. Homer uses the word frequently of "thronging sheep " (ddivd 

4 iKjXvKai is literally the boiling and bubbling of water heated in a 

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own dear hands mightest have buried me ; since that was 
all I yet could wish of thee, for all else that thy nurture 
owed I have long enjoyed. Now shall I, who erst was so 
admired by the Achaean women, be left like a slave in my 
empty halls, miserably wasting away in longing for thee, 
over whom I once had much joy and glory, my only son for 
whom I loosed my maiden zone 1 for the first time and the 
last. For the goddess Eileithyia a exceedingly did grudge 
me many children. Ah me ! for my blind folly ! Little I 
recked of this, even in dreams, that Phrixus would be an 
evil for me to shun." 

Thus was she, poor lady, sobbing and wailing, and the 
women her handmaids took up the wail in turn, but Jason 
spake to her softly with words of comfort : " Mother mine, 
lay not such piteous grief on me thus all too much, for by 
thy tears shalt thou not keep from suffering; nay, thou 
wilt join sorrow on to sorrow. For the gods allot to 
mortals woes they cannot see. Take heart to bear the lot 
of mortals for all thy heaviness of soul, and cheer thee with 
the solemn promise of Athene and with the god's answer, 
for very favourable was the word of Phoebus, and after 
these with the aid of the chieftains. But now do thou 
with thy handmaidens abide quietly within the house, and 
be not a bird of ill omen to our ship ; for my clansmen and 
my thralls shall lead me on my way thither." 

He spake, and forth from the house started on his path. 
Even as Apollo goes forth from his fragrant shrine through 
holy Delos, or Claros, or through Pytho, in his might, or 
wide Lycia by the streams of Xanthus ; in such beauty 
went he through the throng of folk, and there arose a shout 

1 The poetical allusion is to the custom of young married women 
dedicating the ju'rpa or Swvij to Artemis after the birth of their first 

a Eileithyia, i.e. the goddess who comes to aid women in childbirth ; 
the Romans called her Lucina, afterwards identified with Diana. 

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l. 282-342.] 



of men giving commands all together. And there met him 
Iphias, the aged priestess of Artemis, protectress of the 
city ; and she clasped him by his right hand but could not 
say a word for all her longing, since the crowd went hasting 
on ; so she turned aside and left him there, as an old dame 
must before younger folk ; and lo ! he passed by and was 
gone far away. 

Now when he had left the streets of the town with their 
fair buildings, and was come to the headland of Pagasae ; 
there did his comrades welcome him, abiding together be- 
side the ship Argo. There she stood at the river mouth, 
and they were gathered over against her ; when lo ! they 
saw Acastus and with him Argus coming forth from the 
city to them, and they marvelled to see them hasting thither 
with all speed, against the will of Pelias. And the one, 
Argus, son of Arestor, had fastened about his shoulders a 
bull's hide, reaching to his feet, black, with the hair upon 
it ; but the other had a fair mantle of double woof, which 
his sister Pelopeia gave to him. But Jason refrained for 
all that from questioning the pair on each point, but bade 
them seat themselves at the assembly ; for there were they 
sitting one and all in rows on furled sails and the mast 
that lay upon the ground. And amongst them the son 
Maon spake with good intent, " For the rest, whatsoever a 
ship should be furnished withal lies ready against our start, 
for all hath been done well and in order ; therefore no long 
space will we hold back from our voyage on that account, 
when but the winds blow fair. $Jay but, friends, since our 
return to Hellas again is for ill of us, and for all is the 
voyage to the land of J3etes, choose ye therefore now un- 
grudgingly the best 01 you foi leader, to whom each thing 
shall be a care, to take upon him our quarrels and our 
covenants with strangers." 

So spake he : and the young men looked round at bold 
Heracles sitting in their midst ; and with one shout they 

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[book I. 

bade Jason declare him leader; but he forthwith, from 
where he sat, stretched out his right hand and uttered his 
voice, " Let none offer this honour to me. For I will never 
consent ; wherefore I will even stay another from rising up. 
Let him who gathered us together, also lead the throng." 

So spake he in the greatness of his heart; and they 
would have it as Heracles bade. Then arose warlike Jason 
himself in his gladness, and to his eager listeners thus made 
harangue : " If then 'tis your will that your fame be in my 
hands, no longer let the voyage be delayed as hitherto. 
Now forthwith let us appease Phoebus with sacrifice and 
make a feast at once ; and whilst my thralls, the overseers 
of my steadings, go forth, whose business it is to make good 
choice of oxen and drive them hither from the herd ; mean- 
time will we drag the ship to sea, and do ye place all the 
tackling therein and allot the oars amongst the benches ; 
and let us the while build an altar on the strand to Apollo, 
lord of embarkation, who in answer to my prayer hath 
promised to declare and show the passage o'er the sea, if 
haply by sacrifice to him I may begin my contest with the 

So spake he, and was the first to turn him to the work, 
and they rose up obedient to him ; and they piled up their 
garments apart in rows on a smooth ledge of rock, over 
which the sea burst not with its waves, but long ago the 
stormy brine l^d washed it clean. First then by the coun- 
sels of Argus they lashed the ship stoutly with a well- 
twisted cable from within,, stretching it on either side, that 
the timbers might hold fast by their bolts and have strength 
to meet the breakers. 1 And quickly they scooped out a 

1 The account of the launching of Argo is by no means easy to 
understand in all its details. It seems that the heroes dug a trench in 
front of the bows of the ship and a little way beneath her ; then, as she 
tilted forward of her own weight, they placed rollers under her keel, 
and continued their trench at a somewhat greater depth, and so on, at a 

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L. 343-395.] THE ARGON AUTICA. 


space as wide as the ship's girth encompassed, and about 
the prow into the deep they dug out all that she would 
take to run in, when they hauled her down. And ever in 
front of the keel they kept hollowing deeper in the ground, 
and in the furrow did they lay smooth rollers, and on to 
the first of these they tilted her forward, that she might 
slide along them and be carried on. And above, on this 
side and on that, they laid the oars across the ship, so as to 
project a cubit, and they bound them to the tholes ; while 
they stood there on either side at alternate oars and pushed 
with hand and chest together. And amongst them went 
Tiphys to encourage the young men to push in time. • 
Loudly he shouted to urge them, and they at once leant on 
with all their might, and thrust her with one rush right 
from out her place, while with their feet they strained 
and strove ; and lo ! Pelian Argo went with them very 
swiftly, and they darted from her sides with a cheer. Be- 
neath her heavy keel the rollers groaned at the friction, and 
around them dark smoke and flame leapt 1 up beneath the 
weight, and into the sea she slid. Then did they check her 
onward course and held her with a rope. And they fitted 
oars on both sides to the tholes, and laid the mast and 
shapely sails and stores within her. 

Now when they had taken careful heed to each thing, 
first they portioned out the benches by lot, two men being 

lower and lower grade, until they eased her down to the water's edge. 
After this, apparently (cf. 1. 278), they placed oars right across the ship 
from side to side, so that the blades protruded on one side, the handles 
on the other, alternately ; then making these fast with cords to the 
tholes, they used them to pnsh against, and so thrust Argo into deep 
water with a rush. 

If this is what the poet intends, we should have to assume that the 
beach was naturally a sloping one ; otherwise the plan of the graduated 
trench would have been a matter of some difficulty. 

1 Kt)Kit. Strictly this word means " to ooze * of juices from burnt 


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told off to one bench, but the midmost bench, apart from 
the other heroes, did they select for Heracles and Ancseus, 
who dwelt in the citadel of Tegea. For them alone they 
left the middle seat, at once, without casting lots ; and 
with one accord they entrusted Tiphys to mind the helm of 
their ship with her good keel. 

Next, hard by the sea, they raised a pile of shingle, and 
builded an altar there upon the strand to Apollo, naming 
it after him who holds the shore and favours those who go 
aboard. And quickly they laid thereon logs of dry olive ; 
meantime, the herdsmen of the son of Maon drove before 
them from the herd two oxen ; these the young men of his 
crew dragged to the altar, while others then held the lustral 1 
water and meal for sprinkling nigh. And Jason called 
upon Apollo, the god of his fathers, and prayed, " Hearken, 
O king, who dwellest in Pagasae and the city of iEson, that 
is called after my sire, thou who didst promise me when I 
sought to thee at Pytho to show me the accomplishment 
and end of my journey. For 'twas thou thyself that wast 
the cause 2 of the enterprise. Do thou then bring my ship 
with my comrades safe and sound hither back to Hellas. 
Then in thy honour will we lay hereafter on thy altar noble 
sacrifices of bulls for all of us who shall return, and other 
gifts will I bring to Pytho, and others to Ortygia in count- 
less number. Come then and receive this sacrifice at our 
hands, far-darting god ; which we have set before thee ; a 
first gift, as an offering for our embarking on this ship ; 
and may I loose my cables with a harmless destiny through 

1 x*P vt fi a = water for washing the hands of those who offered the 

ovXvxvrat = the bruised barley for sprinkling upon the victim and 
the altar as a beginning of the ceremony. Cf. the phrase ovXvxyrac 
KardpxwO™* irpoyvrcu in 1. 425 is used in the same sense. 

8 Apollo was answerable, because he had given the oracle which 
frightened Pelias into sending Jason on his dangerous voyage, to get 
rid of him. 

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L. 396-453.] THE ARGO n autic a. 


thy guidance, and may soft breezes blow, wherewith we may 
go in fair weather across the sea." 

He spake, and, as he prayed, cast the barley-meal. And 
those twain, Ancaeus the proud and Heracles, girt them- 
selves to slay the steers. Now the one smote with his club 
the middle of the head about the forehead, and forthwith 
the ox lay fallen in a heap upon the earth. But Ancaeus 
struck the other on his broad neck with a brazen axe and 
cleft the strong sinews, and down he tumbled, doubled up 1 
upon his horns. Quickly then their comrades cut the 
oxen's throats, and flayed their hides ; next broke them up 
and carved them, cutting out the sacred thighs, which they 
wrapped closely in fat all together and burnt upon firewood. 
Next the son of JSson poured pure libations ; and Idmon 
was glad, when he saw the flame blaze up on every side 
from the sacrifice and the smoke thereof leaping up favour- 
ably in dark-gleaming wreaths ; and forthwith he declared 
outright the will of the son of Leto. 

" Lo ! it is the will of heaven and your destiny to come 
hither again bringing the fleece with you, but countless 
toils meantime await you as you come and go. But for 
me 'tis fated to die by the hateful doom of a god, some- 
where far away on Asia's strand. Even so came I forth 
from my fatherland, though I knew my doom a while ago 
from evil omens, that I might embark upon the ship, and 
fair fame be left me in my home for my embarking." 

So spake he : and the young warriors heard his prophecy 
and were glad for their return, though grief seized them 
for the fate of Idmon. Now when the sun had passed the 
still hour of noon, and the plough-lands were just shadowed 
by the rocks, as the sun declined beneath the evening dusk ; 
in that hour all strewed a deep couch of leaves upon the 

1 irtpipprjdrjc. Cf. Homer, Od. xxii. 84, where one of the suitors 
when shot by Odysseus " falls doubled up over a table " (which he was 
using as a shield) 7repippr)dr)s St. rpairkly Kcnnreotv. 

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sand and laid them down in order before the gray sea's 
edge, and beside them lay vast stores of food and sweet 
mead, which cupbearers drew forth in beakers ; next they 
told each other tales in turn, such tales as young men oft 
love to tell for their pastime 1 o'er the feast and wine, what 
time the spirit of insatiate violence is far away. Now the 
son of JEson the while was lost in wonder, and was ponder- 
ing each matter within himself like to one downcast, when 
lo ! Idas noted him askance, and with loud voice railed upon 
him, " Thou son of iEson, what plan is this thou turnest 
over in thy heart ? Speak out thy will here in the midst. 
Is it fear, that bugbear of cowards, that is coming upon 
V thee and mastering thee ? Be witness 'twixt us now, my 
' impetuous spear, wherewith I win myself renown far be- 
yond other men in the wars, nor is it Zeus that helpeth me 
the half as much as this my spear, — yea, let it witness that 
there shall come no deadly woe, and that no task shall re- 
main unaccomplished while Idas is with thee, even though 
a god should rise up against us. Such a man am I whom 
thou art bringing from Arene to thy aid." 

He spake ; and grasping in both hands a full goblet drank 
off the pure sweet mead, and his lips and dark cheeks were 
wet with wine ; but those others raised a din all together, 
and Idmon lifted up his voice and spake, " God help thee, 2 
fool ! deadly are thy thoughts, even beforehand, for thyself. 
Is it that the pure mead makes thy bold heart to swell 
within thy breast to thy undoing, and hath driven thee to 
slight the gods ? Other are the words of comfort where- 
with a man might cheer his fellow, but thou hast spoken 
altogether presumptuously. Such a speech, 'tis said, the 

1 tyiaofitu literally = to play with pebbles— then = to amuse oneself 
in any way. 

3 ticuptvu almost = my good sir, with a tone of irony and rebuke, 
and so always both in Homeric and Platonic Greek. A mild oath 
perhaps gives the force of it most nearly. 

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L. 454-504.] THE ABGONAUTICA. 


sons of Aloeus, 1 men of old time, did sputter forth against 
the blessed gods j and to them thou art nowise equal in 
manhood ; yet were they both laid low by the swift arrows 
of the son of Leto, for all their bravery." 

He ended ; and Idas, son of Aphareus, laughed aloud his 
fill ; and, with blinking 2 eyes, answered him with mocking 
words, 44 Come now, tell me this by thy divination, whether 
for me too the gods are fulfilling such another doom, as 
that father of thine gave unto the sons of Aloeus. And 
devise thee how thou mayest safely escape from my hands, 
else shalt thou die for telling a prophecy light 3 as the 
winds.' ' 

Thus in his wrath he upbraided him ; and the quarrel 
would have gone further, liad not their comrades and the 
son of Maori himself called to them with one accord and 
stayed them from their strife. Then too Orpheus lifted 
up his lyre in his left hand and made essay to sing. He 
sang how earth, and heaven, and sea, once all joined 
together in unity, were separated, each apart, after a 
deadly quarrel ; and how, for ever in heaven, the stars, 
and moon, and the paths of the sea have their steadfast 
goal; and how the mountains rose up, and how rivers 
rushing noisily with their nymphs, and all creeping things 
came into being. Next he sang how, at the first, Ophion 
and Eurynome, daughter of Oceanus, held sway o'er snow- 

1 The sons of Aloeus were Otus and Ephialtes, two enormous giants, 
who at the age of nine were twenty -seven cubits high. They were 
remarkable for their strength and daring; they attempted to scale 
heaven by piling Pelion on Ossa, which, says Homer, they would have 
done had they grown to manhood, but Apollo slew them whilst yet in 
their childhood. 

2 fanXXJ&tfy = winking with the eyes— so of the blinking gaze of a 

3 fitrafiuiviov = pdrcuov, " idle,'* " vain ; n the old derivation, /urii 
avtfiog = 44 that which the wind carries away with it," is not to be 

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capped Olympus, and how the one yielded up his honours 
to the mighty hands of Cronus, while she gave way to 
Rhea, and they plunged 'neath the waves of ocean. Awhile 
did these lord it over the blessed Titan gods, whilst Zeus 
was yet a child and thought as a child in his home beneath 
the Cave 1 of Dicte, for not yet had the earth-born Cyclopes 
made strong his hands with bolts of flashing lightning, 
for 'tis these that bring glory to Zeus. 

He ended, and checked his lyre and voice divine ; but 
they, as he ceased, still leant their heads towards him with 
eager ears, one and all hushed but hungry still by his en- 
chantment, so strong a spell of music had he left within 
their hearts. But not long after did they mix libations for 
Zeus, as was his due, and piously poured them on the 
blazing tongues, 8 and so bethought them of sleep for the 

Now when the radiant Dawn with bright eyes looked 
forth upon the high mountain-tops of Pelias, and the 
headlands of the tossing main were swept into clear view 
before the breeze; in that hour uprose Tiphys, and at 
once he bade his comrades go aboard and make ready the 
oars. And strangely did the harbour of Pagasse, yea, and 
Pelian Argo herself cry aloud, urging them to set forth. 
For within Argo was laid one beam 8 divine ; this it was 
that Athene made of oak from Bodona, and fitted all along 
the keel. So they went up upon the benches one after 
another, as before they had allotted to each in his place to 
row, and sat them down in order beside their gear. And 
in the midst sat Ancseus and Heracles, that mighty man, 

1 AtKraiov, i.e. Cretan, from the cave Dicte in Crete, where Zeus 
was brought up. 

3 The tongues of the victims were burnt as a sacrifice to Hermes at 
the very end of the feast. Cf. Homer, Od. iii. 332. 

3 14 One beam divine." This was the oaken keel cut from Dodona, 
home of prophetic utterance, by Athene, who gifted it with human 

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and nigh to him he set his club, and beneath his tread the 
ship's keel sank deep. And now were the cables drawn in, 
and they poured a cup of mead upon the sea. And Jason 
with a tear turned his eyes away from his fatherland. 

But they, like young men who range themselves to 
dance to Phoebus, either in Pytho, or haply in Ortygia or 
by the waters of Ismenus, and all together and in time 
they beat the ground with nimble feet to the sound of the 
lyre round his altar ; even so they in time to the lyre of 
Orpheus smote with their oars the boisterous water of the 
deep, and the waves went dashing by, while on this side 
and on that the dark brine bubbled up in foam, boiling 
terribly 'neath the might of those strong men. And their 
harness flashed like flame in the sunlight as the ship sped 
on, while ever far behind their course was white with foam, 
like a track seen over a grassy plain. 

On that day all the gods looked down from heaven at 
the ship, and those men of courage half divine, who then 
were sailing o'er the sea, a picked crew ; and upon the tops 
of peaks stood the Pelian nymphs, marvelling to see the 
work of Itonian Athene, and the heroes too, wielding their 
oars in their hands. Yea, and from a mountain-top came 
another nigh unto the sea, Chiron, 1 son of Philyra, and he 
wetted his feet where the gray waves break, and with his 
weighty hand he waved them on full oft, chanting the 
while as they went a returning free from sorrow. And 
with him his wife, bearing on her arm Achilles, son of 
Peleus, sent a greeting to his dear father. 

But when they had left the rounded headland of the 
harbour by the cunning and skill of Tiphys, wise son of 
Hagnias, who deftly handled the polished helm to guide 
the ship stedfastly, then did they set up the mighty mast 
in the cross-plank, and made it fast with stays, drawing 

1 Peleus had entrusted his child to Chiron to be brought up, on the 
day Thetis, his goddess wife, left him in anger for ever. 


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them taut on either side, and they spread the sails upon 
it, stretching them along the yard-arm. Therewith a fresh 
fair wind fell on them, so they fastened the ropes on the 
deck to polished pins, set at intervals, and quietly they 
sped beneath the long headland 1 of Tisa. And for them the 
son of (Eager touched his lyre and sang in rhythmic song 
of Artemis, daughter of a noble sire, protectress of ships, 
who keepeth 'neath her care those peaks by the sea and 
the land of Iolchos ; and the fishes darting beneath the 
deep sea, great and small together, followed bounding 
through the watery ways. As when, in the track of the 
shepherd, countless sheep follow to the fold filled to the 
full with grass, while he goeth before them gaily piping 
some shepherd's madrigal on his shrill pipe ; even so did 
the fishes follow with them, and ever onward the steady 
wind bare Argo. 

Anon the misty 2 land of the Pelasgi, with its many corn- 
fields, sank out of sight ; and past the Pelian cliffs they 
went, speeding ever onward; then the Sepian 3 headland 
opened to them, and Sciathus 4 by the sea came in view, and 
in the distance were seen the Peiresian headlands and the 
headland of Magnesia, calm and clear upon the mainland, 
and the cairn of Dolops ; there they beached their ship 
at eve, as the wind veered round, and in honour of Dolops 
they burnt victims at nightfall by the swell of the heaving 
deep. And two days they rested on the beach, but on the 
third they put forth the ship, stretching the wide canvas 
aloft; wherefore men still call that beach the loosing 
place of Argo. 

1 "Headland of Tisa" — a promontory either of Thessaly or 

2 fcpia = either " misty," or " land of the dawn." The same epithet 
is used of Egypt. TleXaaywv = e«<r<raXu)v. 

3 A promontory in Iolchos, so called because Thetis changed herself 
into a cuttle-6sh there when pursued by Peleus. 

4 An island not far from Eubcea. 


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l. 565-615.] 



Thence onward they sped past Melibcea, 1 seeing its black 
and stormy strand. And at dawn they saw Homole close 
to them lying on the deep, and past it they steered, nor 
was it long before they were to sail away from the streams 
of the river Amyms. From thence they beheld Eurymense, 
and the sea-beat ravines of Ossa and Olympus ; and then 
speeding on by the breath of the wind they reached at 
night the slopes of Pallene, beyond the headland of 
Canastra. 2 Now, as they fared on in the morning, the 
Thracian hill of Athos 3 rose before them, which over- 
shadows with its crest Lemnos, lying as far away as a well- 
found merchantman could make by noon, even unto 
Myrine. On the self-same day the wind blew on for them 
till nightfall, exceeding fresh, and the sails of the ship 
strained to it. But at sunset, when the wind fell, they 

I rowed, and came to Sintian Lemnos, 4 rugged isle. 
There had all the men-folk together been ruthlessly slain 
by the women's wanton violence in the past year ; for the 
men had rejected their wedded wives from dislike, and had 
had a wild passion for captive maids, whom they brought 
from the mainland opposite from their forays in Thrace ; 
for the dire wrath of Cypris was upon them, for that they 

1 A city in Thessaly. Homole, a mountain in Thessaly. Amyrus, 
a river in Thessaly. 

3 Canastra, a promontory of Pallene. 

' The highest point of the mountainous peninsula of Athos rises to 
over 6,000 feet ; its shadow falls as far as Lemnos, which is half way 
between Mount Athos and the Hellespont. 

* The men of Lemnos, called by Homer Thracian Sinties, had all 
been massacred by the women on account of their infidelity to the 
marriage vow ; this fact, however, was concealed from the Argonauts, 
who remained there some time and became the fathers of a new race, 
called Minyae, after their sires. Hypsipyle alone, the queen of the 
island, had saved her aged father, Thoas, from the massacre by seuding 
him secretly over the sea. She now married Jason, and bore him twin 
sons ; afterwards the other Lesbian women, discovering that she had 
spared her father alive, drove her from the island. 

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long had grudged her her honours. Ah ! hapless wives, 
insatiate in jealousy to your own grief. Not only did they 
slay their husbands with those captives for their guilty 
love, but the whole race of men as well, that they might 
exact no vengeance thereafter for the pitiful murder. Alone 
of all the women Hypsipyle spared Thoas her aged father, 
who indeed was king over the people ; but him she sent to 
drift o'er the sea in a hollow ark, if haply he might escape. 
Him did fisher-folk bring safe to an island, formerly called 
(Enoe, but afterwards Sicinus, from that Sicinus whom 
CEnoe, the water-nymph, bare from the embraces of Thoas. 
Now to these Lemnian women, one and all, the herding of 
cattle, and the donning of bronze harness, and ploughing 
the wheat-bearing tilth was an easier lot than the toils 1 of 
Athene, whereat ever aforetime they busied them. Yet 
for all that full oft would they peer across the broad sea in 
grievous dread against the coming of the Thracians. Where- 
fore when they saw Argo rowing near the island, forth- 
with in all speed they did on their warlike gear, and 
poured down to the beach from out the gates of Myrine, 
like to Thyades who eat raw flesh, for they thought that 
surely the Thracians were come ; and amongst them, she, 
the daughter of Thoas, Hypsipyle, did on her father's 
harness ; and they poured forth speechless with dismay ; 
such .dread was in their fluttering hearts. Meantime forth 
from the ship the chieftains sent JCthalides, 2 their swift 
herald, to whose care they entrusted their message and 
the wand of Hermes, his own sire, who gave to him a 
memory for all things, that waxed not old ; for even when 

1 " The toils of Athene," i.e. the work of the distaff, embroidery, 
weaving, and other elegant arts, of which Athene was patroness. 

* jEthalides, son of Hermes and Eupolemia, herald of the Argonauts, 
exemplified the doctrine of fitrtft\pvxw<Tic* His soul, after passing 
through numerous phases, at length took possession of the body of 
Pythagoras, in which it still recollected its former migrations. 

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L. 616-679.] THE AEGONAUTICA. 


he crossed the dreadful whirlpools of Acheron forgetf ulness 
rushed not o'er his soul, but its portion is ever to change 
to and fro, now counted amongst those beneath the earth, 
now amongst living men in the sun-light. But why need 
I tell out in full the tale of iEthalides ? He it was who 
then persuaded Hypsipyle to receive the heroes, as they 
came at dusk, toward the close of day ; nor did they loose 
the cables of their ship at dawn to the breath of the north- 

Now the women of Lemnos went through the city and 
sat themselves in the assembly ; for such was the bidding 
of Hypsipyle. herself . And when they were gathered, one 
and all, and come together, forthwith amongst them she 
made eager harangue. 

" My friends, come now, let us give the men gifts in 
plenty, all that men should have to carry on a ship, food 
and sweet mead, that so they may abide steadfastly outside 
our battlements, and may not in pursuit of their business 
get to know us too well, and a foul report spread far and 
wide ; for we have wrought a great deed, which will not be 
wholly to their liking, if they should learn it. Let this be 
our plan now in this matter. But if any of you can devise 
better counsel, let her arise, for to this end did I call you 

So spake she, and sat down on her father's seat of stone. 
And next uprose her dear nurse Polyxo, limping on feet 
shrivelled with age, I trow, and leaning on a staff ; and 
she longed exceedingly to have her say. And by her, with 
her white hair about her head, sat four unmarried maidens. 
So she stood in the midst of the assembly, and raising ever 
so little her bent and skinny back, she spake thus : 

u Gifts let us send to the strangers, as is pleasing 
to Hypsipyle herself, for 'tis better to send them. But for 
you, what plan have ye to keep your life, if a Thracian 
army fall on you, or any other foe, as happeneth oft 

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'mongst men ? since even now yon host is come unex- 
pectedly. And if any one of the blessed gods turn this 
aside, yet hereafter there await us countless other woes 
worse than battle, when the aged women are dead, and ye 
younger maidens reach a cheerless old age, childless. How 
then will ye live, poor creatures ? shall the oxen, yoked of 
their own accord for you, drag the plough, that cleaves the 
fallow, through the deep tilth, and straightway in the 
fulness of the year reap the harvest ? Of a truth o'er me, 
methinks, the earth shall lie this very year that cometh, 
albeit the Fates have hitherto shrunk away from me, and 
I shall get my meed of burial even thus, as is right, or 
ever misfortune arrive. 1 But I bid you younger women 
heed these things well. For now before you open stands 
the door of escape, if but ye will give over to the care of 
strangers your homes and all your booty and your glorious 
town. ,, 

So spake she, and through the assembly ran a murmur 
of assent. For her saying pleased them well. But after 
her at once Hypsipyle, again uprising; took up her parable 
and said : 

" Why, then, if unto you all this purpose is pleasing, at 
once will I send forth even a messenger to find their 

She spake, and called to Iphinoe sitting near, 44 Eouse 
thee, Iphinoe, I pray, and beg yon man who leads their 
company to come unto us, that I may tell to him the word 
that finds favour with my people, and bid his company, if 
they will, set foot within our land and city boldly and with 
a good heart." 

She spake, and broke up the assembly ; and then started 
to go to her own house. And so Iphinoe came unto the 

1 i.e. it matters little to me what happens, for I feel assured my end 
is very near, although the Fates have shrunk away so long from my 
hideous form. avru>£ = ovrutg. 

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ho questioned her on what business bent she 
>ngst them. And forthwith she thus made answer 
jte to their questions, " Verily, 'twas the daughter 
of Thoaa,lHypsipyle, who sent me on my journey hither to 
call the yfptain of the ship, whosoever he is, that she may 
tell hijp somewhat that hath found favour with her folk ; 

m d 1 "4f r S ^ e ^ S J ou ' an ^ ou ^ 8 ^' at once now 8e ^ 
* ~ Jb> '®P er an( * c ^ ™ a heart.'* 
^ ^pake she ; and welcome to all was her fair message. 

7 ow they imagined that Hypsipyle, the well -beloved 

^ daughter of Thoas, did reign in his stead ; so quickly sent 

they Jason on his way, yea, and themselves made ready 

to go. 

Now he had buckled on his shoulders a purple mantle 
of double woof, the handiwork of the Tritonian goddess, 
which Pallas gave him, on that first day she laid down the 
props for the ship Argo, and taught him to measure 
cross-planks with the rule. More easily might you gaze 
on the sun at his rising than on that mantle, or face the 
sheen thereof. For lo ! the middle was red, and the top 
was all of purple, and on either end many cunning things 
were worked passing well. On it were the Cyclopes sitting 
at their work, that never decayeth, fashioning the thunder- 
bolt for king Zeus ; lo ! it was all but made 1 in its bright 
splendour, but yet it lacked one single flash, which they 
with their hammers of iron were forging, with its breath 
of fierce fire. 

^^On it were the two sons of Antiope, daughter of Asopus, 
Amphion and Zethus ; near by lay Thebes, as yet ungirt 
with towers, whereof they were just laying the foundations 
in eager haste. Zfcthus was bearing shoulder-high the top 


1 i.e. the bolt was all' but finished ; it only wanted one ray of light- 
ning to complete its composition ; and so natural was the embroidery, 
that the Cyclopes seemek to be in the very act of adding it. 

The Cyclopes were Brontes and Steropes, i.e. Thunder and Lightning. 

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30 apollonius rhodius. CffeooK r. 

of a steep mountain, like unto a man that toiled ;&e unex- 
hind him came Amphion, 1 singing aloud to his golturn this 
while in his track twice as large a rock followed, ^her woeg 
Next was worked thereon Cytherea, of the thijad, and ye 
carrying the nimble shield of Ares ; and from her> 88 . How 
from beneath her bosom, hung her girdle loosely ^<oked of 
left arm ; and there as she stood one seemed to i ve s the 
sure reflection thrown upon the brazen shield. An m the 
was a shaggy herd upon it ; and the Teleboans 2 aii-v*. me , 
sons of Electryon were fighting about the cattle ; these % 
their defence, but those others, Taphian pirates, longing to 
rob them ; and the dewy meadow was wet with their blood, 
and the many had the mastery of the few, even of the 

Two chariots racing were fashioned there. Pelops drove 
the one that was in front, shaking the reins, and with him 
was Hippodamia for his companion ; while hard upon him 
Myrtilus urged his steeds, and with him was (Enomaus, 
gripping in his hand his couched lance, but down he fell as 
the axle of the wheel break sideways in the nave, in his 
eagerness to wound Pelops in the back. 

There too was broidered Phoebus Apollo, a big boy not 
yet grown up, shooting at Tityos 3 as he tried, with bold 
hand, to snatch away his mother's veil, — great Tityos, 
whose mother indeed was divine Elare, but the earth gave 
him second birth, and brought him up. 

1 The legend was that Amphion, by playing on his lyre, drew the stones 
after him till they ranged themselves in order on the battlements of Thebes. 

a The Teleboans lived in the island of Taphos, one of the Echinades 
group. They are notable pirates in Homers Odyssee. 

3 . The legend is given in two ways about the birth of the giant 
Tityos. His mother Elare, the daughter of Orchomenus, was buried 
alive when pregnant by Zeus, on account of the jealousy of Hera, but 
Earth brought the child to birth. The other legend says that Elare 
could not be delivered, so great was the child, and died in the eflfort ; 
whereon Earth bore the babe and reared him. 



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L. 680-796.] THE ARGONAUTICA. 31 

Minyw, id Minyan Phrixus was there, even as though he 
amly listening to the ram, while it was like to one 
Ah ! shouldst thou see them, thou wouldst 
of Thoas, an <i deceive thj soul, expecting haply to hear 
call the *e aloud ; and long mightest thou gaze thereon in 
tell hiipe. 

**;^ ie. And in his right hand he held a spear, far-dart- 
kj^.hieh on a day Atalanta gave to him in Maenalus as a 
j_o a stranger, what time she met him graciously ; for 
£ ^ .y did she long to join him on that voyage ; but yet of 
h* ilf and willingly he held her back, for he feared 

* he went on his way toward the city like a bright star, 
wl^ 1 maidens through their curtains, newly made, do see, 
wl, r j they awake, rising o'er their home, and through the 
da . mist it charms their eyes with its lovely blush ; and 
the maiden is cheered in her longing for the youth who is 
iamoiigst strange folk, for whom her parents are keeping 
her to be his wedded wife; like to that star the hero 
stepped along the path before the city. Now when they 
were come within the gates of the city, the maidens of the 
people surged behind them, glad to see the stranger ; but 
he, with his eyes upon the ground, kept straight on, until 
he reached the glorious halls of Hypsipyle ; and at his 
appearing maids threw wide the folding- doors, fitted with 
planks well wrought. Then did Iphinoe lead him hastily 
through a fair hall, and seat him on a shining couch before 
her mistress; but that lady cast down her eyes, and a 
blush stole o'er her maiden cheek ; yet for all her modesty 
found she wheedling word to address him withal : " Strange 
sir, why sat ye thus so long outside our battlements ? for 
our husbands abide not now within the city, but they are 
sojourners awhile upon the Thracian mainland, and do 
plough the wheat-bearing tilths. And I will tell thee 

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truly all our trouble, that ye may know it surely . and b«- 
selves. When my father Thoas was king over the ttn lyre, 
then did bands of our folk start forth and plundt 
their ships the folds of the Thracians who dwe'eases, 
against us, and hither they brought endless boo'ulder, *j 
maidens too. But Cypris, deadly goddess, scheer her . 
scheme, which cast upon them a fatal curse. Fs ( ^r J 
they loathed their wedded wives, and chased them* +yi 
their homes, yielding to their folly, and they took fo- 
cubines the captives of their spears, luckless wights ! se 
time did we endure, if haply they might change their 
again at last ; but ever the evil went on and doublek^or 
they dishonoured their true children in their halls 
there grew up a bastard race. And so maids unwec id 
widowed mothers with them, went wandering in n^^ct 
through the city. Nor did a father care ever so litt^ior 
his daughter, though he saw her done to death befoili ] kis 
eyes by the hand of an insolent step-mother ; nor did chil- 
dren ward off unseemly outrage from their mother as j 
before, nor had brothers any thought for a sister. But ' 
only captive maidens found favour at home and in the j 
dance, in the place of assembly, and at festivals, till some 
god put overweening boldness in our hearts, that we 
would no more receive them in our battlements on their 
return from the Thracians, that so they might either be 
minded aright, or start and go elsewhither, captive maids 
and all. Thereon did they demand all the male children 
that were left within the city, and went back again to the 
place where still they dwell on the snowy ploughlands of 
Thrace. Wherefore tarry ye here and sojourn ; and if, 
indeed, thou wilt dwell here, and it find favour with thee, 
verily then shalt thou have the honour of my father 
Thoas. And methinks thou canst not scorn my land, 
for very fruitful is it beyond all other isles that lie in 
the JEgean sea. Nay, come now, get thee to thy ship, 

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l. 797-864.] 



and tell oar words unto thy crew, and abide not outside 
the city." 

So spake she, glozing over the murderous end that had 
been worked upon the men ; and Jason said to her in 
answer, " Hypsipyle, lo ! so shall we gain a request that is 
very dear unto our hearts, which thou dost offer to our de- 
sire. But I will return again unto the city, when I have 
told each thing in order. But thine, and thine alone be 
* V>e lordship of the island ; 'tis from no scorn that I shrink 
herefrom, but upon me grievous toils press hard." 

He spake, and took her right hand, and at once went on 
1 s way back ; while about him throngs of maidens danced 
i \ every side for very joy, till he passed outside the gates. 
J'BXt they went unto the shore, bearing on smoothly- 
: -nning wains gifts full many for the strangers, as soon 
q he had told them all the message from beginning to, even the word that Hypsipyle declared when she 
summoned him. Yea, and they led the heroes to their 
houses to entertain them, willingly. For Cypris stirred up 
sweet desire 1 for the sake of Hephaestus, the crafty ; that so 
Lemnos might again be inhabited by men in time to come 
and get no hurt. 

Then did he, the son of JSson, start for the royal home 
of Hypsipyle, but those others went whither chance led 
each, all save Heracles, for he stayed by the ship of his 
own free will, and with him a few chosen comrades. Anon 
the city made merry with dance and feast, filled with the 
smoke of steaming sacrifice ; and beyond the rest of the - 
immortal gods did they propitiate the famous son of Hera, 
yea, and Cypris too, with song and sacrifice. And ever _ 
day by day was their voyage delayed, and long time would 
they have tarried and rested there, had not Heracles assem- 
bled his companions, apart from the women, and thus up- 

1 Lemnos was sacred to Hephaestus, the husband of Aphrodite ; so 
she would not allow the island to remain for ever void of males. 


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braided them: "God help you, sirs! is it a kinsman's 
murder that keeps us from our country ? Was it for want 
of weddings that we came from that land to this, scorning 
the maidens of our people ? or is it your pleasure to dwell 
here and till the fat glebes of Lemnos ? No fair fame shall 
we win, I trow, from this our long sojourn with strange 
women ; nor will some god of his own accord take the 
fleece and give it us at our prayer. Let us go each man to 
his own again ; but leave ye that other to spend the live- 
long day in the arms of Hypsipyle, till he people Lemnos 
with male children, and so there come to him great 

Thus did he chide the company, and none durst look 
him in the face or make answer to him, but, even as they 
were, hasting from the assembly they made ready to be 
gone. But the women ran to them, when they learnt 
thereof. And as when bees hum round fair lilies, pouring 
forth from their hive in the rock, and around the dewy 
meadow is glad, and they the while flit from flower to 
flower, and gather their sweet food ; even so, I ween, did 
those women pour forth eagerly around the men, with loud 
lament, while with hand and word they greeted each one, 
praying to the blessed gods to grant them a safe return. 
So too Hypsipyle prayed, taking the son of Maon by the 
hands, and the tears that she shed were for the loss of him 
departing, " Go, and heaven guide thee hither again with 
thy comrades all unmaimed, bearing the golden fleece to 
the king, even thus as thou wilt and as is thy desire. 
And this mine isle and my father's sceptre shall be thine, 
if some day hereafter thou wilt yet return and come again ; 
and easily couldst thou gather for thyself a countless host 
from other cities. Nay, but thou wilt never have this eager 
desire, and of myself I foresee that thus it will not come to 
pass; still I pray thee, though thou art far away, and 
when thou art returning, remember Hypsipyle ; and leave 

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X. 865-927.] THE ARGONATJTICJL. 35 

me now thy bidding, which I will fulfil gladly, if, as may 
be, the gods grant me to bear thy child." 

But the son of JSson, with a look of admiration answered 
her : " Hypsipyle, may all these things turn out luckily by 
the will of the blessed gods. But do thou devise some 
better thought for me, for 'tis enough for me to dwell in 
my fatherland by the grace of Pelias; only may heaven 
loose me from my toils ! But if it is not destined that I 
should come to the land of Hellas after my far journey, 
and thou do bear a boy, send him, when he is grown, 
within Pelasgian Iolchos, to my father and mother, to 
soothe their grief, if haply he find them yet alive, that they 
may sit within their halls and be cared for, though I, the 
king, be far away." 

Therewith he went aboard before them all, and in like 
manner went the other chiefs, and, sitting in rows, they 
grasped the oars in their hands, and Argus loosed for them 
the stern-cables from beneath the sea-beat rock. Then did 
they smite the water lustily with the long oars. At eve, by 
the counsel of Orpheus, they beached the ship at the isle 1 of 
Electra, daughter of Atlas, that they might learn the secret 
rites through gentle initiation, and so might fare more 
safely over the chilling sea. Of these things will I speak 
no further ; nay, farewell to yon isle itself, and farewell to 
the gods who dwell there, whose mysteries these are ; of 
them 'tis not right for us to sing. 

Hence did they row over the depths of the Black sea, 
.speeding on, with the land of Thrace on the one side, and 
on the other side to starboard Imbros over against Thrace ; 
>and just at sunset they reached the promontory of Cher- 
sonese. Then did the swift south-wind blow upon them ; 
so they set the sails to the breeze and entered the rushing 

1 " The isle of Electra," i.e. Samothrace. Initiation into the sacred 
mysteries of the Cabiri in this island was supposed to insure safety to 
mariners. Odysseus took this precaution, according to tradition. 

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[book I. 

stream 1 of the daughter of Athamas. At dawn the open 
sea to the north was left behind, and at night were they 
measuring their way over that which lies within the head- 
land of Bhoeteum, keeping the land of Ida on the right. 
Leaving Dardania they steered for Abydos, and on that 
night passed by Percote and the sandy beach of Abarnis 
and sacred Pityeia. Yea, on that night, as the ship sped 
on with oar and sail, 2 they passed right through the Helles- 
pont with its dark eddies. 

Now there is within Propontis a hilly isle, 3 a little from 
the Phrygian mainland with its rich corn-fields, sloping to 
the sea, and there is an isthmus in front of the mainland 
stretching across the sea, but the waves just wash over it. 
And there are there two beaches, and they lie beyond the 
waters of the JDsepus ; and they who dwell around call the 
hill Arctos. On it a wild and lawless race of earth-born 
men ever had their home, a great wonder to their neigh- 
bours to behold ; for each hath six masterful hands hang- 
ing from him, twain from his strong shoulders, and other 
four joined below upon his fearsome sides. About the 
isthmus and the plain the Doliones had their dwelling, and 
amongst them Cyzicus, son of JSneus, held sway, whom 
iEnete, daughter of divine Eusorus, bare. But these the 
earth-born race in no wise harried, for all their fearsome- 
ness, for Poseidon guarded them ; for from him were the 
Doliones first sprung. Thither Argo pressed forward, 
driven by the winds of Thrace, and a fair haven received 
the speeding ship. There too by the advice of Tiphys they 
j loosed and left their light anchor- stone below a fountain, 
I even the Artacian fountain ; and they chose another, which 
suited them, a ponderous stone ; but that old one did the 

1 The Hellespont, so called from Helle, the daughter of Athamas. 

2 $iav$txa — in two ways, i.e. by oar and sail. 

8 Cyzicus, afterwards mainland. Apparently there was a bar of land, 
just covered by surf, joining Cyzicus to the mainland j eventually this 
bar rose clear from the water, and Cyzicus was no longer an island. 

Digitized by Google 

Ij. 928-985.] 


Ionians, 1 sons of Neleus, in the after time, in obedience to 
the oracle of Hecatus, set up as holy, as was right, in the 
temple of Athene, who was with Jason. 

Now the Doliones, yea, and Cyzicus himself, came forth 
to meet them in a body, and treated them with kindness and 
hospitality, when they heard of their expedition and knew 
their lineage, and who they were, and they persuaded them 
to row on a space and moor the ship in the harbour of the 
city. There they builded an altar to Apollo, god of em- 
barkation, and set it by the beach and busied themselves 
with sacrifice. And the king of his own bounty gave them 
in their need sweet mead and sheep as well ; for lo ! there 
came a voice from heaven which said, that when there 
should arrive a goodly expedition of heroes, he should 
straightway meet them graciously, and take no thought 
for war. Now he was about Jason's age ; his beard was 
just sprouting, nor yet had he gotten children to his joy, 
but his bride within his house had not yet known travail, 
the daughter of Percosian Merops, Cleite with the fair 
tresses, whom he had but lately brought thither from the 
mainland opposite, with wondrous gifts of wooing to her 
rather. Yet even so he left his bridal bed and chamber, 
and made ready a banquet amongst them, 2 casting all fear 
from his heart. And they questioned one another in turn ; 
and he asked them of the end of their voyage and of the 
commands of Pelias, while they enquired about the cities 
of the folk around and about the whole gulf of wide 
Propontis ; but he knew not how to tell them when they 
were anxious to know aught far ahead. So at dawn they 
went up to mighty Dindymus, 8 that they might spy out 
for themselves the passage of that sea, and they drave forth 

1 Ionian colonists led by Neleus, son of Codrus, from Attica. 

3 An oracle had warned king Cyzicus of the fate awaiting him at the 
hands of the Argonauts. 

3 A mountain in Cyzicus, sacred to Rhea. Chytus is the harbour of 

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the ship from the outer basin of the harbour of Chytus ;. 
wherefore this way they went is called Jason's way. 

But the earth-born men, rushing from both sides of the 
mountain, blocked the sea- ward mouth of boundless Chytus 
with rocks at the bottom, lying in wait as though for a. 
wild beast inside. Now Heracles had been left there with 
the younger men ; so quickly he stretched his curved bow 
against them and brought them to the ground one after 
another ; and they for their part caught up jagged rocks 
and hurled them. For lo ! Hera, goddess wife of Zeus,. 
I wis, had raised those fearful monsters too, a labour for 
Heracles ; and the other warlike heroes turned back anon 
to meet them, or ever they had mounted to their place of 
outlook, and joined in the slaughter of the earth-born men„ 
receiving them with arrows and swords till they had slain 
them all as they rushed to meet them impetuously. 

As when wood-cutters throw down in rows upon the 
beach long beams just hewn by their axes, that they 
may soak and so receive the strong bolts ; even so those, 
monsters lay stretched there 1 in the entrance to the gray 
haven, some with head and chest plunged all at once into- 
the salt water, and their limbs below spread out upon the 
strand ; others again were resting their heads upon the 
sand of the beach and their feet in the deep water, both 
alike to be a prey to birds and fishes. 

But the heroes, as soon as there was nought to fear for 
their enterprise, at once loosed the cables of the ship to the 
breath of the wind, and voyaged on across the ocean-swelL 
And the ship sped on the live-long day under canvas ; but„ 
as night came on, the rushing wind no longer abode stead- 
fast, but contrary blasts caught and swept them backward, 
till they drew nigh again to the hospitable Doliones. And 
they disembarked that self-same night ; and that rock is 

1 Kvvoxnt M< not merely the entrance to the harbour, but also all the 
circumference of it. 

Digitized by Google 

L. 986-1046.] THE ARO0NAUTICA 


still called the sacred rock, whereto they bound the cables 
of the ship in their haste. Nor did any man surely know 
that it was really the island, nor did the Doliones by night 
perceive for certain that it was the heroes again coming to 
them ; but they supposed maybe some band of Pelasgian 
warriors from the Macrians 1 was landing. Wherefore they 
did on their harness and stretched forth their hands against 
them. And they drove their ashen spears and shields 
against each other, like a swift rush of fire, which falling 
on a dry thicket rears its head; and withal upon the 
Dolionian folk fell the din of battle, terrible and furious. 
Nor was he, their king, to rise above the doom of battle 
and come again home to his bridal chamber and bed. Nay, 
him did the son of iEson, with one bound, smite through 
the middle of the breast as he turned to face him, and the 
bone splintered about his spear, and he grovelling on the 
sand wound up his clew of fate. For mortal man may not 
escape his fate, but on all sides is spread a mighty snare v 
around him. Thus upon that night it caught him in its 
toils, as he thought, maybe, to avoid the bitter doom dealt 
out by the chieftains, what time he fought with them ; and 
many other champions were slain. Heracles slew Telecles 
and Megabrontes ; and Acastus stript Sphodris of his arms ; 
and Peleus laid Zelys low, and Gephyrus, that fleet warrior. 
And Telamon of the stout ashen spear killed Basileus. 
Idas slew Promeus, and Clytius Hyacinthus ; and the two 
sons of Tyndarus slew Megalossaces and Phlogius. 

Besides these the son of (Eneus smote bold Itymoneus, 
yea, and Artaces, a leader of men ; all these do the inhabi- 
tants still honour with the worship due to heroes. 

But the rest gave way and fled in terror, even as doves 

1 The Macrians or Macrones were colonists from Eubcea, and neigh- 
bours of the Doliones, 

" Pelasgic," because Eubcea was close to Peloponnesus, the old name 
of which was Pelasgia. 



[book I. 

in flocks fly cowering from swift hawks, and they rushed 
headlong to the gates with loud cries ; then straight was 
the city filled with cries and groans as the battle was 
turned backward. But at daybreak did both sides per- 
ceive their grievous, cureless error; and bitter anguish 
seized the Minyan heroes when they saw before them 
Cyzicus fallen mid the dust and blood. Three whole days 
they mourned, they and the folk of the Doliones together, 
tearing out their hair. And then thrice about his tomb 
they marched in their bronze harness and made his funeral, 
and instituted trial of games, as was right, on the meadow 
plain, where to this day is his tomb heaped up for men 
that shall be hereafter to see. 

Nor could his bride Cleite survive her husband's death, 
but in her grief she wrought a deed more awful still, what 
time she fastened the noose about her neck. And the 
wood nymphs mourned her death, and all the tears they 
let fall to earth from their eyes for her, of these did the 
goddesses make a spring, which men call Cleite, the storied 
name of that poor maid. Yea, that was the direst day 
that Zeus ever sent upon the men and women of the 
Doliones ; for none of them could bear to taste of food, and 
for a long time after their trouble they minded them not of 
the work of grinding ; but they dragged on their life, eating 
the food, as it was, uncooked. There to this day, whenso 
the Ionians, that dwell in Cyzicus, pour the yearly libation 
to the dead, they ever grind their meal 1 at the public mill. 

From thenceforth for twelve whole days and nights 
arose tempestuous winds, which kept them there from 
their voyage. But on the next night, all the other chiefs, 
ere this, I ween, o'ercome by sleep, were resting there for 

1 ircXawn, literally any half-liquid mixture of various consistency. Not 
unfrequently a mixture of meal, honey, and oil offered to the gods, such 
as Circe (cf. infra, Bk. iv. 1. 712) offers when purifying Jason and Medea. 
Here apparently = ireppara, i.e. any kind of cooked food or sweetmeats. 

Digitized by 

L. 1047-1111.] THE AEGONAUTICA 


the last time, while Acastus and Mopsus, son of Ampycus, 
guarded their sound slumbers. When lo! above the 
yellow head of the son of JEson there flew a king-fisher, 
boding by her shrill note an end of the violent winds ; and 
Mopsus, directly he heard the lucky cry of that bird of the 
shore, marked it well ; and the goddess brought it back 
again, and it darted aloft and perched above the carved 
stern ; then did Mopsus stir Jason, where he lay upon the 
soft fleeces of sheep, and roused him instantly, and thus 
unto him spake : " Son of iEson, to yonder temple on 
rugged Dindymus thou must go up and seek the favour 
of the fair- throned queen, 1 mother of all the blessed gods ; 
then shall cease the stormy winds. For such was the 
voice I heard but now of the halcyon, bird of the sea, which 
flew above about thy sleeping form and told me all. For 
this goddess hath experience of the winds and the sea and 
all the earth beneath and the snow-capped seat of Olym- 
pus ; and before her Zeus himself, the son of Cronos, doth 
somewhat yield, when from her mountains she ascendeth 
to the wide heaven. And hence it is the other blessed 
deathless gods do reverence to this dread goddess." 

So spake he, and welcome to Jason's ear was his word. 
And he roused him from his bed with joy, and hasted to 
awake all his crew ; and, when they were risen, he declared 
to them the heavenly message of Mopsus, son of Ampycus. 
Then straight did the young men drive up oxen from the 
bvres there to the steep mountain-top. And the rest 
meantime loosed the cables from the sacred rock and rowed 
to the Thracian 2 harbour, and themselves went forth, leav- 
ing but a few of their fellows in the ship. Now upon their 

1 Rhea was called the mother of all the gods. 

■ i.e. the harbour of Cyzicus, which is here called Thracian because the 
old inhabitants of Cyzicus had been Thracian. It is clear that the heroes 
did not sail across to Thrace, because Mount Dindymus is a considerable 
distance inland in Galatia, and it was hither they meant to come. 

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right hand the Macrian cliffs and all the Thracian main- 
land rose clear in view, and the dim entrance to the Bos- 
porus 1 and the hills of Mysia appeared ; while upon then- 
left was the stream of the river ^Esepus, and the city and 
plain of Nepeia, which is called Adresteia. Now there was 
a sturdy stump of a vine growing in a wood, an exceeding 
old tree ; this they cut out, for to mate a sacred image of 
the mountain goddess, and Argus polished it neatly, and 
there upon that rugged hill they set it up beneath a canopy 
of towering oaks, trees that have their roots deepest of all, 
I trow. Next heaped they an altar of stones, and wreathed 
it with oak-leaves, and busied themselves with sacrifice, 
calling on the name of the Dindymian mother, queen re- 
vered, that dwelleth in Phrygia, and on Titias 2 too and 
Cyllene, who alone are called the dispensers of destiny and 
assessors of the Idsean mother of all that band, who in 
Crete are the Dactylian priests of Ida ; them on a day the 
nymph Anchiale brought forth in the Dictsean 3 grotto, 
clutching with both hands the (Eaxian land. And the son 
of JSson besought her with many prayers to turn away the 
hurricane, pouring libations the while on blazing sacrifices ; 
and therewith young men, by the bidding of Orpheus, 
danced a measured step in full harness, 4 smiting swords and 

1 Bosporus, the narrow part of Propontis, so called, according to 
legend, from Io, who in the form of a cow swam across it. 

2 Titias and Cyllenus, the Dactylian priests of Cybele in Crete. They 
were wizards, or, more probably, men skilled in medicine and metallurgy 
who lived on Mount Ida, surrounding themselves carefully, no doubt, 
with a certain air of mystery. They were the children of the nymph 
Anchiale, so called because their mother in her travail clutched the 
earth in her fingers (ddimrXoi). 

3 Dictaean, i.e. Cretan, from Mount Dicte in Crete. 

4 The Great Mother was always worshipped in Crete with the sound 
of cymbals, drums, and other loud music; which custom Apollonius 
dates from the time of the Argonauts, who, to drown the unlucky sound 
of lamentation raised by the Cyzicenes for their dead king, clashed their 
weapons together. 


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L. 1112-1167.] THE JLRGONATJTICA. 


bucklers, that the ill-omened cry might lose itself in wan- 
dering through the air, even the lamentation, which the 
folk were still raising at the funeral of their king. Whence 
the Phrygians do ever seek the favour of Ehea with tam- 
bourine and drum. And now, I ween, the goddess turned 
her ear to hearken to their pious worship ; and signs, that 
are favourable, did appear. Trees shook down countless 
fruits, and around their feet the earth of herself brought 
forth the flowers of tender plants. Wild creatures left 
| their lairs in the thickets and came wagging their tails. 
And yet another marvel she produced ; for aforetime Din- 
dymus had no running water, but now they saw it gush 
forth there and cease not from the thirsty hill ; wherefore 
neighbouring folk in after time called that water Jason's 
spring. Then did they make a feast in honour of the god- 
dess on Mount Arctos, singing the praise of Khea, august 
queen ; and at dawn the wind ceased and they rowed away 
from the island. 

Then rivalry stirred each chieftain's heart to be the last 
to leave his rowing. For around them the still air had 
laid the tumbling waves and lulled the sea to rest. So they, 
trusting to the calm, drave on the ship mightily, nor would 
even Poseidon's steeds, that are swift as wind, have caught 
her as she sped through the sea. Yet as the salt waves 
began to rise beneath violent gusts, which toward evening 
were just beginning to get up from the rivers, then were 
they for ceasing, foredone with toil; but Heracles with 
mighty hands pulled those tired rowers along all together, 
making the joints of the ship's timbers to quiver. 

But when, in their haste past the mainland of the 
Mysians, they had sighted and sailed by the mouth of the 
river Khyndacus 1 and the great cairn of JSgseon, a little 
away from Phrygia ; in that hour did Heracles break his 

1 A river of Phrygia. 

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oar in the middle as he heaved aside the furrows of the , 
roughened surge. And backward fell he, grasping in both 
hands one fragment, while the sea swept the other away on ^ \ 
its wash. And there he sat glaring round in silence, for { [1 
his hands knew not to be idle. 

At the hour when some delver or ploughman cometh 
from the field joyfully to his cottage, longing for his supper ; 
and there on his threshold, all squalid with dust as he is, 
he droops his weary knees, and, gazing on his toil-worn 
hands, many a bitter curse he flingeth at that belly of his ; 
in that hour, I trow, came those heroes to the abodes of 
the land Cianian about the Arganthonian mountain and the 
mouth of the river Cios. And the Mysians welcomed them 
with all hospitality and kindness on their coming, for they 
dwelt in that land, and they gave them at their need sheep 
and mead in plenty. So then some brought dry logs, and 
others mowed the plenteous herbage of the meadows for 
beds to strew withal, and others twirled sticks to get fire ; 
and they mixed wine in bowls, and made ready a feast, 
after sacrificing to Apollo, god of embarkation, as darkness 

Now Heracles bade his comrades give good heed unto 
the feast, while he went on his way to the wood, that son 
of Zeus, that he might first fashion for himself an oar to 
suit him. And in his wandering he found a pine that was 
not burdened with many branches, nor had much foliage 
thereon, but it was like some tall poplar sapling to look at 
both in height and girth. Quickly then upon the ground 
he laid his quiver, arrows and all, and doffed his lion-skin. 
And when he with his heavy club of bronze had made it 
totter from its base, then did he grip it low down about the 
stump with both hands, trusting to his strength, and plant- 
ing himself firmly he leant his broad shoulder against it, 
and so clinging to it he dragged it from the ground, deep- 
rooted though it was, clods of earth and all. As when a 


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wnp squall of wind strikes aloft a ship's mast unex- 
meily, just at the time of baleful Orion's winter setting, 
nor^rs it from its stays, 1 wedges and all ; even thus the 

fly; ei 

dragged it out. And at once he caught up his 
ows, and his skin and club, and hasted to go 

e Hylas with a brazen pitcher went apart from ' t 
y, in quest of a sacred running spring, that he 
his return draw for him water against supper- 
ind get all else ready and in order for him at his 
| "oming. For Heracles had with his own hands brought 
him up in such habits from his earliest childhood, having 
robbed him from his father s house, goodly Theiodamas, 
horn he slew ruthlessly amongst the Dryopes, because he 
vithstood him about a steer for ploughing. Now Theio- 
amas was ploughing up a fallow field, when the curse fell 
n him ; and Heracles bade him give up the steer he was 
loughing with, and he would not. For he longed to find 
pme grim pretext for war against the Dryopes, for there 
ey dwelt without regard for justice. But this would 
nd me straying far from my story. Quickly came Hylas 
the spring, which they who dwell around and near call 
egae. Now it chanced that lately choirs of nymphs had 
ttled there ; their care it was ever to hymn Artemis with 
idnight song, as many of them as dwelt there round the 
vely peak. All those, whose lot it is to watch o'er hill- 
ps and mountain-streams, and they who guard the woods, 
re all drawn up apart ; but she, the nymph of the water, 
just rising from her lovely spring, when she marked 
im near with the blush of his beauty and sweet grace 
pon him. For on him the full moon from heaven was 
edding her light. And Cypris made the nymph's heart 
tter, and scarce in her confusion could she collect her- 

1 <T^» £<r<7tv, wedges to block the mast firmly in its hole, nporovwv, 
lys from the top of the mast to the deck to keep it still firmer. 

Digitized by Google 



self. But he, so soon as be had dipped his pitche 
stream, leaning aslant over it, and good store of wa 
flowing into the sounding brass and bubbling rou 
in that instant the nymph from below the wa^ 
left arm on his neck, longing to kiss his soft 
with her right hand she plucked him by theA 1 ^ whl ~ 
plunged him amid the ripple. V Ibow and 

And as he cried out, Polyphemus, son of Elat' 
of his comrades, heard him, as he came on along t^j 8 ' a 
For he would welcome mighty Heracles, whensoe^ 
might come. Away rushed he towards Peg® like soul? 
wild beast, to whom from afar hath come the bleating ot 
sheep, and furious with hunger he goeth to find them anc 
yet cometh not upon the flocks, for shepherds before havt 
penned them with their own hands within the fold ; bu 
he howls and roars unceasingly till he is tired. So thei 
did the son of Elatus cry aloud, and went to and fro abo 
the place shouting, and piteous was his voice. Anon dre 
he his mighty sword and started to go forth, for fear 
the boy might be a prey to beasts, or men have taken hi 
in ambush as he was alone, and be leading him away, 
easy booty. Then did he meet Heracles himself in t 
way, as he was brandishing his naked sword in his han 
and right well he knew him as he hasted toward the sh 
through the darkness. At once he told the grievous ne 
gasping hard for breath, " God help thee ! friend, a bitt 
grief shall I be the first to tell thee. Hylas went unto t 
spring, but he cometh not again in safety ; but rob 
have attacked him and are leading him away, or beasts a 1 
tearing him, for I heard his loud cry." 

So spake he ; and, as the other listened, there broke o 
great beads of sweat upon his forehead, and beneath 
heart the dark blood surged. Down upon the ground 
wrath he cast the pine, and hasted along the path whit 
his feet carried him in his hurry. As when a bull so 

iL. 1234-1292.] THE ARGONATJTICA 


where, stung by the gadfly, rushes along, leaving the 
meadows and marsh-lands, and heedeth not the herdsmen, 
nor the herd, but passes on his way, at one time without 
stopping, and again standing still, and lifting up his broad 
neck he bellows aloud, 'neath the sting of that cursed 
fly ; even so Heracles in his eagerness now made his swift 
knees move without a check, and now again, ceasing from 
his toil, he would make his loud shout peal afar. 

Anon uprose the morning star above the topmost heights, 
and down came the breeze ; quickly then did Tiphys urge 
t them go aboard and take advantage of the wind. So they 
t at once embarked eagerly, and they hauled in the anchor- 
ropes of the ship and backed her out. 1 And the sails were 
( bellied out by the wind, and they were borne far from the 
beach past the headland of Posideum, glad at heart. Now 
when bright-eyed dawn, arising from the east, shed its 
light from heaven, and the paths stood out clearly, and 
the dew-spangled plains shone in the bright gleam, then 
knew they those whom they had left behind in ignorance. 
And there arose a fierce strife amongst them, and brawl- 
ing unspeakable, to think that they had gone and left the 
best of all their crew. But he, the son of iEson, mazed 
and at a loss, had nought to say one way or the other, but 
there he sat, inly consuming his soul with heavy woe ; but 
Telamon a was seized with wrath and thus spake he, " Sit 
thee then in silence thus, since it pleased thee well to leave 
Heracles behind ; far from thee is any counsel, that so his 
fame may not o'ershadow thee in Hellas, 3 if haply the gods 

1 The ancient mode of landing was to beach the ship, if possible, and 
P then fasten by cables to the land, and by anchors from the stern in the 
sea. Hence, to put to sea it was necessary first to haul up the anchor 
stones, and then back the ship out. 

3 Telamon had joined Heracles in his expedition against the Amazons, 
and had also sailed with him to Ilium, so that they had become close 

3 Telamon's taunt against Jason certainly gathers some weight from 

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✓ grant a return home again. But what joy is there in 
words ? for I will go even apart from thy crew, who helped 
thee to devise this guile." 

He spake, and sprung toward Tiphys, son of Hagnias, 
and his two eyes were like the flash of glowing fire. And 
now would they have come back to the Mysian land in 
spite of the wide sea and the ceaseless roaring blast, had 
not the two sons of Thracian Boreas held back the son of 
JSacus with harsh words, poor wights ; 1 verily upon them 
came a grievous vengeance in the aftertime from the hands 
of Heracles, for that they stayed the search for him. For 
he slew them in sea-girt Tenos as they returned from the 
games after the slaughter of Pelias, and he piled the earth 
about them, and set up two pillars above them, whereof 
the one, an exceeding marvel for men to see, is stirred by 
the breath of the noisy north-wind. Thus were these 
things to be brought to pass in days to come. But to them 
appeared Glaucus 2 from the depth of the sea, wise ex- 
pounder of the will of godlike Nereus ; and he raised aloft 
his shaggy head and chest from the hollow depths, and 
laid hold upon the ship's keel with his stalwart hand and 

I cried to them as they hastened, " Why against the will of 
mighty Zeus are ye eager to take bold Heracles to the 
city of JSetes ? His lot it is to toil in Argos for insolent 

the poet's treatment of Jason's character ; not enough prominence is 
given to him, who should be the central hero of all. Again and again 
H Jason is overshadowed by his comrades ; he fails to excite our lively in- 
terest in anything like the way that Medea's beautiful portrait stirs it. 

1 Heracles heard afterwards how the sons of Boreas had checked the 
proposed search for him, and, as he thought (not knowing the will of 
the gods), prevented his sharing the farther adventures of the Argonauts ; 
so in his rage he slew them in Tenos as they were returning from the 
games held at the funeral of Pelias. 

8 Glaucus, the son of Polybus, a sea-god endowed with prophetic 
powers, explains the divine will in separating Polyphemus, Heracles, 
and Hylas from their comrades to fulfil other destinies. 

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l. 1293-1346.] 



Eurystheus till he complete twelve labours in all, and then 
to dwell amongst the deathless gods, if haply he accom- 
plish yet a few. Wherefore let there be no regret for him. 
Yea, and even thus it is decreed that Polyphemus found a 
famous town amongst the Mysians at the mouth of the 
river Cios, and then wind up his clew of fate in the bound- 
less country of the Chalybes. 1 And Hylas hath a goddess 
nymph taken as her husband for love of him, and this was 
why they wandered away and were left behind." 

Therewith he dived below and wrapped the restless 
wave around him, and the dark water seethed and foamed 
in eddies about him, and he let the hollow ship go on 
through the sea. Then were the heroes glad; and he, 
Telamon, son of JSacus, made haste to come to Jason, and 
he grasped his hand in his own and embraced him, with 
these words, " Son of JSson, be not angered with me, if in 
my folly I was somewhat blinded, for exceeding grief 
urged me to speak a haughty word I could not stay. Nay, 
let us give our error to the winds, and be good friends even 
as before." 

Him in answer the son of ^)son cautiouslv addressed, 
"Yea, good friend, that was a grievous word enough, I 
trow, wherewith thou didst revile me, making me to be a 
sinner against a comrade kind amongst all these. Yet no 
long time will I nurse bitter wrath against thee, though 
before distressed, for it was not for flocks of sheep nor 
for possessions that thou wert angered into fury, but for a 
man that was thy comrade. Yea, fain would I have thee 
stand up for me too against another, if ever there come 
such need." 

He spake, and they sat them down, united as of old ; 
and so by the counsel of Zeus, the one was destined to 
found and build a city called after the river, namely 

1 The Chalybes were a Scythian race, famous for working in iron, 
which their country yielded in plenty. 


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Polyphemus, son of Elatus, while the other returned and 
performed the labours of Eurystheus. Now he threatened 
at once to ravage the Mysian land, since they could not 
discover for him the fate of Hylas, either alive or dead. 
But they chose out the noblest sons of the people, and 
gave them as pledges for him, and took an oath that they 
would never cease from the toil of seeking him. Where- 
fore to this day the men of Cios ask after Hylas, the son 
of Theiodamas, and take care of the stablished town of 
Trachin, 1 for there it was that Heracles did place the boys, 
whom they sent to him from Cios to take as hostages. 

And all day long and all that night the wind bare on 
the ship, blowing in its strength ; but as the dawn broke, 
never a breath stirred. So they, having marked a head- 
land, broad enow to look upon, stretching out from a bend 
in the land, took to their oars and anchored there at sun- 

1 A city in Thessaly, where Heracles placed the boys sent to him as 
hostages for lost Hylas by the Mysians. 


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They reach Bithynia. Amycus, king of the B^bryces, having chal- 
lenged any of them to box with him, is slain by Polydeuces, and in the 
subsequent fight many of the Bebryces fall. At Salmydessa in Thrace 
they find blind Phinens, whom the sons of Boreas relieve from the 
attacks of the Harpies. In return be tells them of their voyage. Hence 
they come to the Symplogades, and, after escaping through them, are 
received by Lycus, king of the Mariandyni. Idmon and Tiphys die 
there. They meet with strange adventures among the Chalybes, Tiba- 
reni, and Mossynoeci. Coming to an island infested by " the birds of 
Ares," they pick up the shipwrecked sons of Chalciope, who henceforth 
serve them as guides to Colchis. 

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HERE were the steadings and the farm of Amycus, 
proud king of the Bebryces, whom on a day the 
Bithynian nymph, Melie, bjre from the embraces of Posei- 
don, 1 lord of birth, to be the haughtiest of men, for he laid 
this unseemly ordinance even on his guests, that none 
should go away, till he had made trial of his boxing ; and 
many of his neighbours had he slain. So then he came to 
the ship, but scorned to ask the object of their voyage and 
who they were, in his exceeding insolence ; but this word 
at once spake he amongst them all : " Hearken, ye rovers 
o'er the deep ; 'tis right ye should know these things. Of 
stranger folk none may get him hence, whoso draweth nigh 
to the Bebryces, ere he have lifted up his hands to fight 
with me. Wherefore set the best man of your company 
alone and apart to do battle with me in boxing on the spot. 
But if ye neglect and trample on my decrees, verily some 
hard necessity shall follow you to your sorrow." 

So spake he in his great pride. But savage anger seized 
them as they listened. And most of all his chiding smote 
Polydeuces. Quickly he stood up as champion of his fel- 
lows, and spake, " Hold thee now, and show no coward 
violence, whoever thou boastest to be ; for we will yield to 
thy ordinance, as thou declarest it. I myself willingly do 
undertake to meet thee in this very hour." 

1 Poseidon is called " Lord of Creation " because he had power over 
all moisture, without which nothing could come into being. 

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So spake he bluntly ; but the other rolled his eyes and 
gazed at him, as when a lion is wounded by a spear, and 
men encompass him upon the hills ; but he, hemmed in, 
though he be, by the press, yet recketh no more of them, 
but only mindeth in his solitude that man who first did 
wound himiand slew him not. Then did the son of Tyn- 
darus lay aside his fine close- woven robe, that robe which 
one of the I^mnian maidens had given him for a stranger's 
gift, and he threw down his dark cloak of double woof with 
the brooches thereupon, and the rough shepherd's crook of 
wild mountain olive that he was carrying. Anon they 
looked about for a convenient spot near, and made their 
comrades all sit down in two bands upon the beach ; nor 
were they in form or stature like each other to behold. The 
one was like some monstrous birth of baleful Typhoeus 1 or 
haply of Earth herself, such as she aforetime bare to Zeus 
in her displeasure ; a while the other, the son of Tyndarus, 
was like a star of heaven, whose twinklings are most lovely 
when he shineth in the gloaming. So fair was the son of 
Zeus, with the young down still sprouting on his face and 
the glad light yet in his eyes. But his might and his spirit 
waxed as doth a beast's ; and he swung his arms, testing 
them to see if they moved nimbly as of yore, or lest they 
might be stiff withal from toil and rowing. Amycus how- 
ever made no trial of himself ; there he stood apart in 
silence, and kept his eyes on him, and his heart beat high 
with eagerness to dash the other's life-blood from his breast. 
Betwixt them Lycoreus, henchman of Amycus, laid at their 
feet two pairs of thongs, 8 rough, dry, and wrinkled all about. 

1 Typhoeus, a fearful giant slain by Zeus, and buried by him in 

a The legend was that when Zeus slew the Titans, children of Earth, 
their mother in anger and revenge produced the Giants. 

8 ifidvTag, lit. " thongs," which were bound round the hands and arms 
of boxers, sometimes loaded with metal as well, to increase the effect of 
the blows. They were called /ivp/iijctc. 

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l. 25-84.] 



And Amycus with haughty words addressed the other: 
" Here will I freely give thee without casting lots which- 
ever of these thou wilt, that thou mayst not find fault with 
me hereafter. Come, bind it about thy hand ; and, when 
thou hast learnt, thou mayst tell another, how far I excel 
in cutting the hides of oxen when they are dry, and in 
dabbling men's cheeks with blood." 

He spake ; but the other answered him with never a taunt, 
but, lightly smiling, readily took up the thongs that lay at 
his own feet ; and Castor came to be his squire, and mighty 
Talaus, the son of Bias ; and quickly they bound the thongs 
about his arms, very earnestly exhorting him to show his 
prowess ; while for that other Aretus and Ornytus did the 
like, and little they knew, poor fools, that they had bound 
them for the last time, with ill luck to boot. 

But they then, when they were ready with their thongs, 
face to face, at once held out before their bodies their 
weighty fists, and brought their might to meet each other. 
Then the king of the Bebryces, like a wave of the sea that 
rears its rugged crest against a swift ship that only just 
avoids it by the skill of the crafty pilot, as the billow is 
eager to sweep her away within its wall of water ; even so 
the king pressed hard the son of Tyndarus to frighten him, 
nor would he give him any respite. But the other, un- 
wounded ever, kept avoiding his rush by his skill ; and 
quickly he noted his rough boxing, to see if he were invin- 
cible in his strength or haply his inferior ; so there he stood 
continually, 1 and gave him blow for blow. As when car- 
penters, urgently laying on, do strike with hammers and 
nail together ship-timbers with sharp mortices, while blow 
on blow re-echoes round unceasingly ; so their cheeks and 
jaws on both sides resounded, and the gnashing of teeth 
arose incessantly, and they ceased not to smite each in turn, 

1 aporov. A word of uncertain derivation, frequently occurring in 
ApoJlonius in the sense of " in8atiab]y. ,, 




till sore gasping o'ercame them both. Then stood they a 
little apart, wiping from their faces great drops of sweat, 
with grievous panting and hard breathing the while. Once 

rising on tiptoe, like a butcher, strain to his full height and 
shot forth his heavy fist at him, but he stooped his head 
and went under his rush, but caught his blow just on the 
shoulder ; then did he come up to Amycus, and advancing 
his knee past him dashed in and smote him above the ear, 
crashing the bones inward ; and the other fell on his knees 
in agony, but the Minyan heroes cheered ; and away sped 
his spirit at once. 

But the Bebryces, I trow, left not their king thus ; no, 
at once they caught up rough clubs and spears and made 
straight for Polydeuces. But his comrades drew their keen 
swords from the scabbards and stood up before him. 'Twas 
Castor first that smote a man upon the head as he rushed 
at him, and his skull was cleft in twain on either shoulder. 
Likewise he smote the giant Itymoneus and Mimas ; the 
one he smote beneath the breast, having rushed on him with 
speedy foot, 1 and hurled him in the dust ; the other, as he 
drew nigh, he struck with his right hand above the left 
eye-brow and tore off the lid, and the eye was left uncovered. 
And Oreides too, daring squire of Amycus, wounded Talaus, 
the son of Bias, in the loins, but he slew him not, for the 
bronze sped beneath his belt merely along the skin, and 
touched not his belly. In like manner Aretus sprang at 
Iphitus, steadfast son of Eurytus, and smote him with a 
seasoned club, not yet doomed to die miserably ; Aretus 
indeed was soon to fall beneath the sword of Clytius. 

'Twas then that Ancseus, bold son of Lycurgus, uplifted 
his great axe right speedily, holding his black bear skin in 

1 Xa$, an adverb, = "with the heel or foot," on the same analogy as 
= " with the teeth," from dcucvu, with euphoo. 6. 

x. 85-154.] 


his left hand, and sprang furiously into the thick of the 
Bebryces, and the son of ^Eacus charged with him, and 
Jason too rushed on with them. 

As when, on a day in winter, grizzled wolves attack and 
terrify countless sheep in the fold without the knowledge 
of the keen-scented dogs and the shepherds themselves, 
and they seek how they may at once spring on them and 
take them, oft peering over the pens withal, while the sheep 
from every side huddle as they are, tumbling over one an- 
other ; even so, I ween, the heroes grievously affrighted 
the overweening Bebryces. As shepherds or bee-keepers 
smoke a mighty swarm of bees in a rock, and these the 
while, all huddled in their hive, buzz round confusedly ; 
and far from the rock they dart, smoked right through by 
the sooty fumes ; so these men no longer abode steadfastly, 
but fled routed within Bebrycia, carrying the news of the 
death of Amycus ; poor fools, for they knew not of another 
unseen woe that was very nigh to them. For their orchards 
and villages were wasted by the hostile spear of Lycus and 
the Mariandyni, now that their king was gone. For there 
was ever a feud twixt them about the land that yielded 
iron ; for these at once began to pillage the farms and 
steadings, while the heroes forthwith plundered and 
carried off their countless sheep ; and thus some man 
amongst them would say : " Bethink you what they would 
have brought upon themselves by their craven deeds, if 
haply some god had brought Heracles too hither. Very sure 
am I, had he been here, there would have been not so much 
as a trial of boxing ; no, but when he came to tell his ordi- 
nances, forthwith the club would have made him forget his 
pride and the ordinances too which he declared. Yea, we 
have left him yonder on the shore without a thought and 
gone our way across the sea, but every man amongst us 
shall know that fatal mistake, now that he is far away." 

Thus spake he; but all these things were wrought by 

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the counsels of Zeus. There they abode that night, and 
set to curing the wounds of those who were smitten, and 
they offered sacrifices to the deathless gods, and made 
ready a great supper ; and sleep o'ertook no man beside 
the wine-bowls and the blazing sacrifices. And they 
wreathed their yellow locks with bay that groweth by the 
sea, whereto also were fastened the cables, and sang in sweet 
harmony to the lyre of Orpheus; and as they sang the 
headland round grew calm and still, for their song was of 
the son of Zeus, 1 who dwelleth in Therapnre. 

Now when the sun, rising from the east, shone upon the 
dewy hills, and awoke shepherds, in that hour they loosed 
their cables from the stem of the bay-tree, and, putting 
their booty on board, even all that they had need to carry, 
they steered with the wind along the swirling Bosporus. 
Then did a wave like to a steep mountain rush upon them 
in front, as though it were charging them, rearing itself 
ever above the clouds, and never wouldst thou have said 
they would escape a horrid fate, for it hung arching right 
over the middle of the ship in all its fury ; but yet even 
this grows smooth, if but you possess a clever pilot. So 
then they too came forth, unscathed, though much afeard, 
through the skill of Tiphys. And on the next day they 
anchored over against the Bithynian land. 

Here Phineus, son of Agenor, had his home beside the 
sea ; he who, by reason of the divination that the son of 
Leto granted him aforetime, suffered most awful woes, far 
beyond all men ; for not one jot did he regard even Zeus 
himself, in foretelling the sacred purpose to men unerringly. 
Wherefore Zeus granted him a weary length of days, but 
reft his eyes of the sweet light, nor suffered him to have 
any joy of all the countless gifts, which those, who dwelt 
around and sought to him for oracles, were ever bringing to 

1 "The Therapnaean son of Zeus," i.e. Apollo, so called from 
Therapiue, a part of Sparta, which was sacred to this god. 

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L. 155-220.] THE ABOONAUTICA. 59 

his house. But suddenly through the clouds the Harpies 
darted nigh, and kept snatching them from his mouth or 
hands in their talons. Sometimes never a morsel of food 
was left him, sometimes a scrap, that he might live and 
suffer. And upon his food they spread a fetid stench ; 
and none could endure to bring food to his mouth, but 
stood afar off ; so foul a reek breathed from the remnants 
of his meal. At once, when he heard the sound and noise 
of a company, he perceived that they were the very men 
now passing by, at whose coming an oracle from Zeus had 
said that he should enjoy his food. Up from his couch he 
rose, as it were, a lifeless phantom, and, leaning on his 
staff, came to the door on his wrinkled feet, feeling his 
way along the walls ; and, as he went, his limbs trembled 
from weakness and age, and his skin was dry and caked 
with filth, and nought but the skin held his bones together. 
So he came forth from his hall, and sat down with heavy 
knees on the threshold of the court, and a dark mantle 
wrapped him, and seemed to sweep the ground below all 
round ; and there he sank with never a word, in strength- 
less lethargy. 

But they, when they saw him, gathered round, and were 
a8tonied. And he, drawing a laboured breath from the 
bottom of his chest, took up his parable for them and said : 
" Hearken, choice sons of all the Hellenes, if 'tis you in 
very truth, whom now Jason, at the king's chill bidding, is 
leading on the ship Argo to fetch the fleece. 'Tis surely 
you. Still doth my mind know each thing by its divining. 
Wherefore to thee, my prince, thou son of Leto, do I give 
thanks even in my cruel sufferings. By Zeus, the god of 
suppliants, most awful god to sinful men, for Phoebus' sake 
and for the sake of Hera herself, who before all other gods 
hath had you in her keeping as ye came, help me, I im- 
plore ; rescue a hapless wretch from misery, and do not 
heedlessly go hence and leave me thus. For not only hath 

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[book n. 

the avenging fiend set his heel upon my eyes, not only do I 
drag out to the end a tedious old age, but yet another most 
bitter pain is added to the tale. Harpies, swooping from 
some unseen den of destruction, that I see not, do snatch the 
food from my mouth. And I have no plan to help me. But 
lightly would my mind forget her longing for a meal, or 
the thought of them, so quickly fly they through the air. 
But if, as happens at times, they leave me some scrap of 
food, a noisome stench it hath, and a smell too strong to 
bear, nor could any mortal man draw nigh and bear it even 
for a little while, no, not though his heart were forged of 
adamant. But me, God wot, doth necessity, cruel and in- 
satiate, constrain to abide, and abiding to put such food in 
my miserable belly. Them 'tis heaven's decree that the 
sons of Boreas 1 shall check ; and they shall ward them off, 
for they are my kinsmen, if indeed I am that Phineus, who 
in days gone by had a name amongst men for my wealth 
and divination, whom Agenor, my sire, begat ; their sister 
Cleopatra 2 did I bring to my house as wife with gifts of 
wooing, what time I ruled among the Thracians." 

So spake the son of Agenor ; and deep sorrow took hold 
on each of the heroes, but specially on the two sons of 
Boreas. But they wiped away a tear and drew nigh, and 
thus spake Zetes, taking in his the hand of the suffering 
old man : " Ah ! poor sufferer, methinks there is no other 
man more wretched than thee. Why is it that such woes 
have fastened on thee ? Is it that thou hast sinned against 
the gods in deadly folly through thy skill in divination ? 
Wherefore are they so greatly wroth against thee ? Lo ! 
our heart within us is sorely bewildered, though we yearn 
to help thee, if in very truth the god hath reserved for us 

1 The sons of Boreas were Zetes and Calais. 

2 Phineus in his happier days had married Cleopatra, daughter of 
Boreas and Orithyia ; he was therefore uncle of Zetes and Calais, his 
destined deliverers. 

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L. 221-284.] THE ABGONAUTICA. 61 

twain this honour. For plain to see are the rebukes that 
the immortals send on us men of earth. Nor will we check 
the coming of the Harpies, for all our eagerness, till that 
thou swear that we shall not fall from heaven's favour in 
return for this." So spake he, and straight that aged man 
opened his sightless eyes and lifted them up, and thus 
made answer : " Hush ! remind me not of those things, my 
son. The son of Leto be my witness, who of his kindness 
taught me divination ; be witness that ill-omened fate, that 
is my lot, and this dark cloud upon my eyes, and the gods 
below, whose favour may I never find if I die perjured 
thus, that there shall come no wrath from heaven on you 
by reason of your aid." 

Then were those twain eager to help him by reason of 
the oath, and quickly did the young men make ready a. 
feast for the old man, a last booty for the Harpies ; and 
the two stood near to strike them with their swords as they 
swooped down. Soon as ever that aged man did touch the 
food, down rushed those Harpies with whirr of wings at 
once, eager for the food, like grievous blasts, or like 
lightning darting suddenly from the clouds ; but those 
heroes, when they saw them in mid air, shouted ; and they 
at the noise sped off afar across the sea after they had 
devoured everything, but behind them was left an intoler- 
able stench. And the two sons of Boreas started in pur- 
suit of them with their swords drawn ; for Zeus inspired 
them with tireless courage, and 'twas not without the will 
of Zeus that they followed them, for they would dart past 
the breath of the west wind, what time they went to and 
from Phineus. As when upon the hill-tops dogs skilled 
in the chase run on the track of horned goats or deer, and, 
straining at full speed just behind, in vain do gnash their 
teeth upon their lips ; even so Zetes and Calais, darting 
very nigh to them, in vain grazed them with their finger- 
tips. And now, I trow, they would have torn them in 



pieces against the will of the gods on the floating islands, 1 
after they had come afar, had not swift Iris seen them, 
and darting down from the clear heaven above stayed them 
with this word of rebuke : " Ye sons of Boreas, 'tis not or- 
dained that ye should slay the Harpies, the hounds of 
mighty Zeus, with your swords ; but I, even I, will give 
you an oath that they will come no more nigh him." 

Therewith she sware by the stream of Styx, most dire 
and awful oath for all the gods, that these should never 
again draw near unto the house of Phineus, son of Agenor, 
for even so was it fated. So they yielded to her oath and 
turned to hasten back to the ship. And so it is that men 
call those isles, "the isles of turning," though aforetime 
they called them " the floating isles." And the Harpies 
and Iris parted ; they entered their lair in Crete, the land 
of Minos, but she sped up to Olympus, soaring on her 
swift pinions. 

Meantime the chieftains carefully washed the old man's 
squalid skin, and chose out and sacrificed sheep, which 
they had brought from the booty of Ainycus. Now when 
they had laid a great supper in his halls, they sat them 
down and feasted, and with them Phineus fell afeasting 
ravenously, cheering his heart as in a dream. Then when 
they had taken their fill of food and drink, they sat up all 
night awaiting the sons of Boreas. And in their midst 
beside the hearth sat that ancient one himself, telling 
them of the ends of their voyage and the fulfilment of 
their journey : " Hearken then. All ye may not learn of a 
surety, but as much as is heaven's will I will not hide. 
Aforetime I went astray in my folly by declaring the mind 
of Zeus in order to the end. For he willeth himself to 
make plain to men oracles that need divination, to the 

1 " The Floating Isles " in the Sicilian sea. They were supposed to 
be capable of movement. After the flight of the Harpies here, they were 
called the Strophades, i.e. " Isles of turning." 

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l. 285-345.] 



end that they may have some need of the mind of the 

" First of all, when ye have gone hence from me, ye shall 
see the two Cyanean 1 rocks at the place where two seas 
meet. Through these, I trow, none can win a passage. 
For they are not fixed on foundations below, but oft they 
clash together upon each other, and much salt water boils 
up from beneath, rearing its crest, and loud is the roar 
round the bluff headland. 

" Wherefore now give heed to my exhorting, if in sooth ye 
make this voyage with cautious mind and due regard for 
the blessed gods ; perish not then senselessly by a death 
of your own choosing, nor rush on at the heels of youthful 
rashness. First I bid you let loose from the ship a dove, 
and send her forth before you to try the way. And if she 
fly safely on her wings through those rocks to the sea, no 
longer do ye delay your voyage for any time, but stoutly 
ply the oars in your hands and cleave through the strait 
of sea, for now your life will depend, not so much on your 
prayers, as on your stalwart arms. Wherefore leave all 
other things alone and exert 2 yourselves bravely to the 
utmost ; yet ere you start, I do not forbid you to entreat 
the gods. But if the dove be slain right in mid passage, 
fare ye back again, for far better it is to yield to the death- 
less gods. For then could ye not escape an evil doom at 
the rocks, no, not if Argo were made of iron. Ah ! hapless 
wights ! dare not to go beyond my warning, although ye 
think me thrice as much the foe of the lords of heaven, 
aye and even more hateful to them than I really am ; dare 
not to sail yet further against the omen. And these things 
shall be even as they may. But if ye escape the clashing 

1 TKTpaq, i.e. the Symplegades, or " dashers,'' stood at the mouth of 

2 i.e. do not think prayers alone will save you, but, on the other 
hand, do not neglect to pray as well as to do your utmoat as men. 




of the rocks and come scatheless inside Pontns, forthwith 
keep the Bithynian 1 land upon your right, and sail cautiously 
amid the breakers, till that ye round the swift current of 
the river Ehebas and the Black headland, and be come to a 
haven in the Thynian isle. Thence return a short stretch 
across the sea, and beach your ship on the opposite shore 
of the Mariandyni. There is a path down to Hades, and 
the headland 2 of Acherusia juts out and stretches itself on 
high, and swirling Acheron, cutting through the foot of 
the cliff, pours itself forth from a mighty ravine. Very 
nigh to it shall ye pass by many hills of the Paphlagonians, 
over whom Pelops first held sway in Enete, 3 of whose blood 
they avow them to be. Now there is a certain cliff that 
fronts the circling 4 Bear, on all sides steep ; men call it 
Carambis ; above it the gusty north is parted in twain ; in 
such wise is it turned toward the sea, towering to heaven. 
At once when a man hath rounded it a wide beach stretches 
before him, and at the end of that wide beach nigh to a 
jutting cliff the stream of the river Halys 5 terribly dis- 
charges, and after him, but flowing near, the Iris rolls into 
the sea, a lesser stream with clear ripples. Here in front 
a great and towering bend stands out 8 ; next, Thermodon's 
mouth flows into a sleeping bay near the Themiscyrean 
headland, from its meandering through a wide continent* 

1 The Bosporus is bounded on the right by Bithynia, on the left by 
the Thracian land. Rhebas is a river of Bithynia. 

2 This headland was near Heraclea. 

3 'Evcrfroc, so called from Enete, a city of Paphlagonia, the native 
place of Pelops. 

4 'EXfaf, another name for " the Bear," i.e. the North, so called be- 
cause the Bear was supposed to be ever wheeling round so as to escape 
Orion, who was in pursuit. 

6 The Halys is a river of Paphlagonia, falling into the Pontus near 
the city Sinope. 

6 i.e. stands up high from the surrounding land and juts out into the' 
sea, forming an angle. " The mouth of the Thermodon 19 is only a pre- 
cise way of saying " the Thermodon. ■ 


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L. 346-395.] THE ABOONAUTICA. 


There is the plain of Doias, and hard by are the triple 
cities of the Amazons ; and after them the Chalybes 1 in- 
habit a rough and stubborn land, of all men most wretched, 
labourers they, busied with working of iron. Near them 
dwell the Tibareni, rich in sheep, beyond the Genetsean head- 
land, where is a temple of Zeus, lord of hospitality. Next 
beyond this, but nigh thereto, the Mossynceci 3 hold the 
woody mainland and the foot of the mountain, men that 
have builded houses of timber with wooden battlements 
and chambers deftly finished, which they call 1 Mossynse,' 
and hence they have their name. Coast on past them, and 
anchor at a smooth isle, 3 after ye have driven off with all 
the skill ye may those ravening birds, which, men say, do 
roost upon this desert isle in countless numbers. Therein 
the queens of the Amazons builded a temple of stone to 
Ares, even Otrere and Antiope, what time they went forth 
to battle. Now here shall there come to you from out the 
bitter sea a help 4 ye looked not for, wherefore of good will I 
bid you there to stay. But hold ; why should I once more 
offend by telling everything from beginning to end m my 
divining ? In front of the island, on the mainland oppo- 
site, dwell the Philyres ; 5 higher up, beyond them, are the 

1 The Chalybes, a Scythian race, so called from Chalybs, a son of 
Ares, great workers in iron. The Amazons, a warlike and savage race 
of women, living near the Doian plain in three separate cities, Lycastia, 
Themiscyra, and Chalybia. Their queens were Otrere and Antiope. 

3 The Mossynoeci, or dwellers in wooden houses, pooovvai being = 
wooden houses. Some account of their curious customs is given infra, 
bk. ii. L 1016, sqq. 

3 vq<ry, the isleof Ares, on which were the terrible Stymphalian birds 
with feathers which could be shot by the birds themselves like arrows. 

4 i.e. just when you are becoming desperate and sick of your enter- 
prise, there shall come to you an unexpected relief from the sea in the 
shape of shipwrecked mariners, viz., the sons of Chalciope, who had 
lately left -fl£a, but had been wrecked on the isle of Ares ; they shall 
serve to guide you on your voyage to Colchis. Cf. infra, bk. ii. 1. 1090, sqq. 

6 The various tribes now mentioned are Scythian, then comes Sar- 


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Macrones ; and yet beyond these, the countless tribes of 
the Becheiri. Next to them dwell the Sapeires, and their 
neighbours are the Byzeres, and right beyond them come 
next the warlike Colchians themselves. But cleave on your 
way, until ye come nigh to the inmost sea. There across 
the Cytsean 1 mainland, from the Amarantian hills afar, and 
the plain of Circe, 2 the swirling Fhasis rolls his broad 
stream into the sea. Drive your ship into the mouth of 
that river, and ye shall see the towers of Cytaean Metes 
and the shady grove of Ares, where a dragon, dire monster 
to behold, watches from his ambush round the fleece as it 
hangs on the top of an oak ; nor night nor day doth sweet 
sleep o'ercome his restless eyes. ,, 

So spake he ; and as they hearkened, fear fell on them 
forthwith. Long were they struck with speechlessness ; at 
last spake the hero, the son of JiJson, sorely at a loss, " Old 
man, lo ! now hast thou rehearsed the end of our toilsome 
voyage, and the sure sign, which if we obey we shall pass 
through those loathed rocks to Pontus ; but whether there 
shall be a return again to Hellas for us, if we do escape 
them, this too would I fain learn of thee. How am I to 
act, how shall I come again over so wide a path of sea, in 
ignorance myself and with a crew alike ignorant? for 
Colchian JEa lieth at the uttermost end of Pontus and the 

So spake he, and to him did that old man make answer, 
" My child, as soon as thou hast escaped through those 
rocks of death, be of good cheer, for a god will guide thee 
on a different route from JEa; and toward iEa, there 
shall be plenty to guide thee. Yea, friends, bethink you of 
the crafty aid of the Cyprian goddess. For by her is pre- 

matia about the lake Mseotis, while beyond this lies the Arctic 

1 Colchian, Cyt*a being a city in Colchis. 
8 Circe was sister of Metes. 

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L. 396-454.] 


pared a glorious end to your toils. But question me no 
further of these matters." 

So spake the son of Agenor, and the two sons of 
Thracian Boreas came glancing down from heaven, and 
set their rushing feet upon the threshold beside them. Up 
sprang the heroes from their seats, when they saw them 
coming near. And among the eager throng Zetes made 
harangue, drawing great gasps for breath after his toil, and 
told them how far they had journeyed, and how Iris pre- 
vented them from slaying the Harpies, and how the 
goddess in her favour gave them an oath, and those others 
slunk away in terror 'neath the vast cavern of the cliff of 
Dicte. Glad then were all their comrades in the house, 
and Phineus himself, at the news. And quickly did the 
son of jEson address the old man with right good will : " It 
seems then, Phineus, some god there was who pitied thy 
grievous misery, and brought us, too, hither from afar, that 
the sons of Boreas might help thee ; if but he would grant 
the light unto thine eyes, methinks I would be even as glad 
as if I were on my homeward way." 

So spake he ; but the other, with downcast face, answered 
him : " Ah ! son of JEson, that may never be recalled, nor 
is there any remedy for that hereafter ; for blasted 1 are my 
sightless eyes. Instead thereof God grant me death 2 at y 
once, and after death shall I share in all festive joys. ,, ' 

Thus these twain held converse together. And anon, in 
no long space, as they talked, the dawn appeared ; and the 
neighbouring folk came round Phineus, they who even 
aforetime gathered thither day by day, ever bringing a 

1 vTrofffivxovrat literally = are smouldering away, a forcible word to 
express the blinding of the eyes by lightning. 

2 A wish. God grant me death ; then shall I have the same chances 
as other men of happiness. The legend was that Phineus, being given 
a choice of anything he pleased, asked for long life. This was granted ; 
tout, to punish his folly, it was accompanied with blindness. 

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[book II. 

portion of food for him in spite of all. And unto all of 
them that aged man with good will gave oracles, whatso 
feeble man might come ; and he loosed many of their woes 
by his divination ; wherefore they would visit and care for 
him. With these came Parsebius, the man most dear to 
him, and glad was he to hear them in his house. For long 
before had he himself declared that an expedition of chief- 
tains, on its way from Hellas to the city of JEetes, should 
fasten its cables to the Thynian 1 land, and they should re- 
strain by Zeus's will the Harpies from coming to him. So 
then that old man sent these men forth, winning them with 
words of wisdom ; only Parsebius he bade stay there with 
the chieftains ; and quickly he sent him forth, bidding him 
bring thither the pick of all his sheep ; and as he went out 
from the hall, Phineus made harangue graciously amongst 
the throng of rowers : " Friends, all men, I trow, are not 
overweening, nor forgetful of a kindness. Thus yonder 
man, brave soul as he is, came hither that he might learn 
his fate. 2 For when he toiled his best and worked his 
hardest, even then above all repeated want of food would 
waste him, and day on day was ever more miserable, nor 
was there any respite from his suffering. But he was pay- 
ing a sad return for his father's sin ; for he, cutting trees- 
alone on a day in the hills, slighted the prayer of a tree- 
nymph, who besought him with tears and earnest entreaty 
not to cut the trunk of an oak that had grown up with her, 
whereon she had passed many a long year together, but he, 
in the senseless pride of youth, cut it down. Wherefore 
did the nymph make her death unprofitable to him and his. 
children afterwards. Now I knew the sin, when he came 
to me; so I bade him build an altar to the Thynian 
nymph, and offer upon it sacrifice to cleanse the guilt, 
praying for an escape from his father's doom. Then when 

1 Thynis, a part of Thrace upon the Bosporus. 

2 popov here = " fate, destiny," not " death." 

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L. 455-514.] THE ARGONATJTICA. 69 

he escaped the doom sent by the goddess, he never forgat 
nor ceased to care for me ; and scarce can I send him to 
the door, unwilling to depart, for he is fain to abide even 
here with me in my distress/' 

So spake the son of Agenor ; and the other anon drew 
nigh, driving two sheep from the fold. Then up stood 
Jason, and up stood the sons of Boreas as the old man 
bade them. Quickly they called on the name of prophetic' 
Apollo, and did sacrifice upon the hearth just as the day 
was waning, and the young men of the crew made ready a 
plenteous feast. Then when they had well feasted, some 
laid them to rest by the cables of the ship, and some in 
knots there in the house. At morn the steady summer 
winds 1 began to blow, which breathe o'er the whole earth 
equally, for such is the command of Zeus. 

There runs a legend that Cyrene 2 once was herding sheep 
along the marsh of the Peneus amongst the men of former 
times, for her heart rejoiced in her maidenhood and virgin 
couch. But Apollo caught her up from her shepherding 
by the river far from Hsemonia, and set her down among 
the maidens of the country who dwelt in Libya beside the 
Myrtosian height. There she bare Aristaeus unto Phoebus, 
whom the Haemonians, with their rich corn-lands, call "the 
Hunter " and " the Shepherd." For the god, for the love 
of the nymph, granted her length of days and a home in 
the country there, and brought her infant son to be reared 
'neath the cave of Chiron. And when he was grown, the 
divine Muses found for him a wife, and taught him the 

1 krrjtTicu avpai. According to the legend, a great drought prevailed 
once in the Cyclades, when an oracle told the people to call in to their 
aid Aristaeus, tho son of Apollo and Cyrene, from Phthia. He came to 
Cos, and appeased Zeus with sacrifice ; whereon that god sent a cool 
breeze to blow upon the isle for forty days. Henceforth these winds 
became annual during the summer, beginning when the sun is in the 
last chamber of the Crab, and lasting until he enters the Lion. 

3 The mother of Aristauis just mentioned. 

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arts of healing and prophecy; and they made him the 
keeper of their flocks, all that feed along the plain of 
Athamas in Phthia, and around steep Othrys, and the 
sacred stream of the river Apidanus. Now when the Bog- 
star 1 from heaven scorched up the islands of Minos, 2 and for 
a long space the inhabitants found no relief, then by the 
advice of Hecatus they called him in to stay the plague. 
So he left Phthia at the bidding of his father, and came to 
dwell in Cos, having gathered thither the Parrhasian 3 folk, 
who are of the lineage of Lycaon ; and he builded a mighty 
altar to Zeus, the god of rain, 4 and did fair sacrifice upon 
the mountains to Sirius, that baleful star, and to Zeus: 
himself, the son of Cronos. Wherefore it is that the 
Etesian winds blow cool across the earth for forty days 
from Zeus; and even now in Cos priests offer sacrifices 
before the rising of the Dog. 

So runs this legend ; and the chiefs abode there by con- 
straint ; 5 and every day the Thynians sent forth good store 
of gifts for the strangers, out of favour for Phineus. After 
this, when they had builded an altar to the twelve blessed 
gods on the edge of the sea opposite, and had offered 
sacrifice upon it, they went aboard their swift ship to row 
away, nor did they forget to take with them a timorous 
dove, but Euphemus clutched her in his hand, cowering 
with terror, and carried her along, and they loosed their 
double cables from the shore. 

Nor, I ween, had they started, ere Athene was ware of 

1 Se/ptoc, i.e. the Dogstar, " the scorching star." 

2 Mivioicac, i.e. the Cyclades, for Minos, king of Crete, held the 
supremacy of the sea (cf. Thuc. i.) in early times, and consequently of 
all the islands. 

3 Parrhasian, i.e. Arcadian. Parrhasia, a city of Arcadia. 

4 'Ufiatoio, ■« Lord of rain," Zeus being appealed to as the controller 
of the atmosphere. 

6 IpvKoptvoi, i.e. holden there by the Etesian winds, which were not 
favourable to their sailing. 

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them, and forthwith and hastily she stepped upon a light 
cloud, which should bear her at once for all her weight ; 
and she hasted on her way seaward, with kindly intent to 
the rowers. As when a man goes wandering from his 
country, as oft we men do wander in our hardihood, and 
there is no land too far away, for every path lies open 
before his eyes, when lo! he seeth in his mind his own 
home, and withal there appeareth a way to it over land or 
over sea, and keenly he pondereth this way and that, and 
searcheth it out with his eyes ; even so the daughter of 
Zeus, swifty darting on, set foot upon the cheerless strand 
of Thynia. 

Now they, when they came to the strait of the winding 
passage, walled in with beetling crags on either side, while 
an eddying current from below washed up against the ship 
as it went on its way ; and on they went in grievous fear, 
and already on their ears the thud of clashing rocks smote 
unceasingly, and the dripping cliffs roared ; in that very 
hour the hero Euphemus clutched the dove in his hand, 
and went to take his stand upon the prow, while they, at 
the bidding of Tiphys, son of Hagnias, rowed with a will, 
that they might drive right through the rocks, trusting in 
their might. And as they rounded a bend, they saw those 
rocks opening for the last time of all. And their spirit melted 
at the sight ; but the hero Euphemus sent forth the dove 
to dart through on her wings, and they, one and all, lifted 
up their heads to see, and she sped through them, but at 
once the two rocks met again with a clash ; and the foam 
leapt up in a seething mass like a cloud, and grimly roared 
the sea, and all around the great firmament bellowed. 
And the hollow caves echoed beneath the rugged rocks as 
the sea went surging in, and high on the cliffs was the 
white spray vomited as the billow dashed upon them. 
Then did the current spin the ship round. And the rocks 
cut off just the tail-feathers of the dove, but she darted 

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away unhurt. And loudly the rowers cheered, hut Tiphys 
himself shouted to them to row lustily, for once more the 
rocks were opening. Then came trembling on them as 
they rowed, until the wave with its returning wash came 
and bore the ship within the rocks. Thereon most awful fear 
seized on all, for above their head was death with no 
escape ; and now on this side and on that lay broad Pontus 
to their view, when suddenly in front rose up a mighty 
arching wave, like to a steep hill, and they bowed down 
their heads at the sight. For it seemed as if it must indeed 
leap down and whelm the ship entirely. But Tiphys was 
quick to ease her as she laboured to the rowing, and the 
wave rolled with all his force beneath the keel, and lifted 
up the ship herself from underneath, far from the rocks, 
and high on the crest of the billow she was borne. Then 
did Euphemus go amongst all the crew, and call to them 
to lay on to their oars with all their might, and they smote 
the water at his cry. So she sprang forward twice as far 
as any other ship would have yielded to rowers, and the 
oars bent like curved bows as the heroes strained. In that 
instant the vaulted wave was past them, and she at once 
was riding over the furious billow like a roller, plunging 
headlong forward o'er the trough of the sea. But the 
eddying current stayed the ship in the midst of " the 
Clashers," and they quaked on either side, and thundered, 
and the ship-timbers throbbed. Then did Athene with her 
left hand hold the stubborn rock apart, while with her 
right she thrust them through upon their course ; and the 
ship shot through the air like a winged arrow. Yet the 
rocks, ceaselessly dashing together, crushed off, in passing, 
the tip of the carved stern. And Athene sped back to 
Olympus, when they were escaped unhurt. But the rocks 
closed up together, rooted firm for ever; even so was 
it decreed by the blessed gods, whenso a man should have 
passed through alive in his ship. And they, I trow, 

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x. 575-639.] 



drew breath again after their chilling fear, as they gazed 
out upon the sky, and the expanse of sea spreading far and 
wide. For verily they deemed that they were saved from 
Hades, and Tiphys first made harangue : " Methinks we 
have escaped this danger sure enough, we and the ship, 
and there is no other we have to thank so much as Athene, 
who inspired the ship with divine courage, when Argus 
fastened her together with bolts ; and it is not right that 
she should be caught. Wherefore, son of iEson, no more 
fear at all the bidding of thy king, since God hath granted 
us to escape through the rocks, for Phineus, son of Agenor, 
declared that, after this, toils, easy to master, should be ours." 

Therewith he made the ship speed past the Bithynian 
coast across the sea. But the other answered him with 
gentle words : " Ah ! Tiphys, why comfort my heavy heart 
thus ? I have sinned, and upon me has come a grievous 
blindness I may not cope with ; for I should have refused y 
this journey outright at once when Pelias ordained it, even 
though I was to have died, torn ruthlessly limb from limb ; 
but now do I endure 1 exceeding terror, and troubles past 
bearing, in deadly dread to sail across the chill paths of 
the deep, in deadly dread whene'er we land. For on all 
sides are enemies. And ever as the days go by, I watch 
through the dreary night, and think of all, since first ye 
mustered for my sake ; and lightly dost thou speak, caring - 
only for thine 2 own life, while I fear never so little for mv- - 
self, but for this man and for that, for thee and the rest of 
my comrades do I fear, if I bring you not safe and sound 
to Hellas." 

1 dyiceipai. Whether this reading is what the poet originally wrote 
cannot now be ascertained; it has been tacitly accepted, and from the 
context seems to mean " I bear, sustain," but what authority there is 
for giving the word such a meaning it is difficult to say. 

2 iijg for the 2nd person = rfje <navrov. flo for iptlo, 3rd person for 
1st. Tolo Kat roD, much as we might say A and B, meaning any two in- 
definite persons, used as instances. 


So spake he, making trial of the chieftains ; but they 
cried out with words of cheer. And his heart was glad 
v within him at their exhorting, and once more he spake to 
them outright, " My friends, your bravery makes me more 
bold. Wherefore now no more will I let fear fasten on 
me, even though I must voyage across the gulf of Hades, 
since ye stand firm amid cruel terrors. Nay, since we have 
sailed from out the clashing rocks, I trow there will be no 
other horror in store such as this, if we surely go our way, 
following the counsel of Phineus." 

So spake he, and forthwith they ceased from such words, 
and toiled in rowing unceasingly, and soon they passed by 
Khebas, that swiftly-rushing river, and the rock of Colone, 
and, not long after, the Black headland, and, next, the 
mouth of the river Phyllis, 1 where aforetime Dipsacus 
received the son of Athamas in his house what time he 
was flying, together with the ram, from the city of Orcho- 
menus ; his mother was a meadow-nymph, and he loved 
not wanton deeds, but gladly dwelt with his mother by the 
waters of his father, feeding flocks upon the shore. And 
quickly they sighted and passed by his shrine, and the 
river's broad banks and the plain and Calpe with its deep 
stream ; and day by day, the calm night through, they bent 
to their unresting oars. As ploughing oxen do toil in 
cleaving a moist fallow- field, and the sweat trickles in great 
drops from their flanks and neck, and they keep turning 
their eyes askance from under the yoke, while the parched 
breath from their mouths comes ever snorting forth, and 
they planting their hoofs firmly in the ground go toiling 
on the livelong day ; like unto them the heroes tugged their 
oars through the brine. 

Now when the dawn divine was not yet come, nor yet 
was it exceeding dark, but o'er the night was spread a 

1 A river in Bithynia. 

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L. 640-701.] THE ARGONAUTICA. 


streak of light, the hour when men arise and call it twilight ; 1 
in that hour they rowed into the harbour of the desert 
Thynian isle with laboured toil, and went ashore. And 
to them appeared the son of Leto, coming up from far 
Lycia, on his way to the countless race of the Hyperboreans ; 
and clustering locks of gold streamed down his cheeks as 
he came ; and in his left hand he held his silver bow, while 
about his back was slung his quiver from his shoulders ; 
beneath his feet the island quaked throughout, and on the 
shore the waves surged up. And they were filled with 
wild alarm when they caught sight of him, and none dare 
gaze into the god's fair eyes. But there they stood with 
heads bowed low upon the ground, till he was far on his 
way to sea through the air ; then at last spake Orpheus, 
thus declaring his word to the chieftains, " Come now, let 
us call this island the sacred isle of Apollo, god of dawn, 
for that he was seen by all passing over it at dawn, and let 
us sacrifice such things as we may, when we have raised 
an altar on the strand ; but if hereafter he grant us a safe 
return to the land of Haemonia, then surely will we lay 
upon his altar the thighs of horned goats. And now, as ye 
may, I bid you win his favour with the steam of sacrifice. 
Be gracious, O be gracious in thy appearing, prince ! " 

So spake he ; and some at once made an altar of shingle, 2 
while others roamed the island in quest of fawns or wild 
goats if haply they might see aught of either, such beasts 
as oft do seek their food in a wood's depths. And for 
them the son of Leto found a quarry ; then with pious rites 
they wrapped the thigh bones 3 of them all in a roll of fat 

1 afKpiXvKtjy an adj. agreeing with vv£ understood, i.e. the gray 
dawn, morning twilight. 

2 xwdoiv, i.e. small stones or pebbles such as can be grasped in the 
hand (x^'p), *.<?. they made the best altar they could with the materials 
they could find. 

a cnr\6a firipia. Cf. Horn. Odyss. iii. 468, and passim. The thigh- 




and burned them on the sacred altar, calling on the name 
of Apollo, god of dawn. And they stood in a wide ring 
around the burning sacrifice, chanting this hymn to Phoebus, 
" Hail, all hail ! fair healing god ; " 1 while the goodly son 
of (Eager led for them their clear song on his Bistonian 8 
lyre, telling how on a day beneath Parnassus* rocky ridge 
he slew the monster snake Delphine with his bow, while 
yet a beardless youth, proud of his long locks. "O be 
gracious, ever be thy hair uncut, 3 my prince, ever free from 
hurt, for thus 'tis right. Only Leto herself, daughter of 
Coeus, fondles it in her hands." And the Corycian * 
nymphs, daughters of Pleistus, oft took up the cheering 
strain, crying, " Hail, all hail ! " 5 This then was the fair 
refrain they chanted to Phoebus. 

Now when they had celebrated 8 him with song and dance, 
they took an oath by the holy drink-offering, that verily 
they would help one another for ever in unity of purpose, 
laying their hand upon the sacrifice ; and still to this day 
there stands a temple there to cheerful Unity, the temple 

bones were specially reserved for sacrifice to the gods; they were 
wrapped up in fat and then burnt, after which feasting began. 

1 'lrfrran)ora, probably connected with laopai, Apollo being the god 
of healing, no less than the sender of disease, as he is represented at the 
opening of the Iliad. Another etymology connects the word with 'itjfii, 
i.e. the darting god, from his archery, like iKrjfioXog, but not so well. 

a Thracian, the Bistones being a Thracian tribe. 

3 With this line cf. the epithet atczpatKopriQ = with hair unshorn, a 
title of Apollo from his long, flowing locks. 

4 The Corycian cave is on Mount Parnassus. The Pleistus is a river 
at Delphi. 

5 'Iw literally = 0 god saluted with the cry n? fif. 

• fU\\pav xopf'y doiSy. Here we have both song and dance specifically 
mentioned,butfrequently/io\7nri is used alone to express both the chant and 
the rhythmic dance which always accompanied it ; e.g. in the Odyssee, 
Nausicaa's game at ball with her handmaids is described as po\m) y 
which really means 44 anything done in time," and so often the combina- 
tion of singing and dancing. 

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l. 702-752.] 



their own hands then built to the honour of a deity most 

Now when the third day was come, then did they leave 
that steep isle with a fresh west wind. Thence they sighted 
over against them the mouth of the river Sangarius, 1 and 
the fruitful land of the Mariandyni and the streams of 
Lycus and the lake of Anthemoisia, and by them they 
passed. And as they ran before the breeze, the ropes and 
tackling throughout the ship were shaken ; at dawn, for 
the wind dropped during the night, they were glad to 
reach the haven of the Acherusian headland, which rises 
up with steep beetling crags, facing the Bithynian sea; 
beneath it are rooted smooth sea- washed rocks, and round 
them the billow rolls and thunders loud, but above, upon 
the top, grow spreading plane trees. Further inland from 
this lieth a glen in the hollow, where is the cave of Hades, a 
roofed in with trees and rocks, whence an icy blast r 
breathing always from the chill den within, ever freezeth 
the sparkling rime, that thaws again beneath the noonday 
sun. Never spreads silence o'er that grim 3 headland, but 
there is a confused murmur of the booming sea, and of 
leaves rustling in the wind within. There too is the mouth 
of the river Acheron, which discharges through the head- 
land and falleth into the sea eastward; a hollow chasm 
brings it down from above. The Megarians of Nissea 
called it in after-times " Saviour of Mariners," when they 
were about to settle in the land of the Mariandyni. For 
lo ! it saved them and their ships when they were caught 
by a foul tempest. So now at once the heroes passed 

1 A river of Phrygia. 

2 This description of the care of Hades may be well compared with 
Vergil's account of the cavern of the Sybil. * 

3 fiXoavphv, here, in its primary sense, " grim, stern it also comes 
to mean " sturdy, strong," in which sense Plato employs it fiT the 

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through the Acherusian headland and anchored inside, 1 just 
as the wind was dropping. 

No long time, 3 1 trow, could the slayers of Amycus, as 
report had told, anchor without the knowledge of Lycus, 
lord of that mainland, or of the Mariandyni ; but they made 
even a league with them on that account. And they wel- 
comed Polydeuces himself as he had been a god, gathering 
from all sides, for long time had they warred bitterly 
against the overweening Bebryces. And so it was that 
at once within the halls of Lycus they made ready a feast 
that day with all good will, going to the city, and rejoiced 
their hearts with converse. 

And the son of JEson declared his lineage and the name 
of each of his crew, and the commands of Pelias, and how 
they were entertained by the women of Lemnos, and all 
that they did in Cyzicus, city of the Doliones, and how 
thev came to Mvsia and Chios, where they left the hero 
Heracles against their will ; also he declared the message 
of Glaucus, and told how they smote the Bebryces and 
Amycus, and of the prophecies and misery of Phineus, and 
how they escaped the Cyanean rocks, and met the son of 
j Leto at the island. And the heart of Lycus was charmed 
at listening to his tale, and thus spake he amongst them 
all : " My friends, what a man is he whose aid ye have lost 
in your long, long voyage to ^Jetes ! For well I mind seeing 
him here in the halls of my father Dascylus, what time he 
came hither afoot through the mainland of Asia, bringing 
the girdle of Hippolyte, 3 the warrior queen ; but me he found 

1 efowiroi, i.e. they passed through the ravine at the mouth of the 
Acheron till they were behind the wall of rock, and so (tiouiroi = 
ivavriot) facing the back of it. 

a i.e. the fame of Polydeuces and the Argonauts, as public bene- 
factors, had preceded them, and insured them a ready welcome from 
Lycus and the Mariandyni, the hereditary enemies of Amycus and the 

3 To fetch the girdle of Hippolyte, queen of the Amazons, daughter 

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i». 753-808.] 



with the down just sprouting on my chin. Then 1 when our 
brother Priolaus was slain by the Mysians, whom from 
that day forth the people mourn in piteous elegies, he 
entered the lists with Titias the mighty, and vanquished 
him in boxing, a man who excelled all our young men in 
build and might ; and he dashed his teeth upon the ground. 
Moreover he subdued to my father Phrygians and Mysians 
together, who inhabit the lands nigh to us, and took for 
his own the tribes of the Bithynians with their land, as 
far as the mouth of the Khebas and the rock of Colone ; 
next the Paphlagonians, sprung from Pelops, yielded with- 
out fight, all whom the black water of Billaeus breaks 
around. But now the Bebryces and the violence of 
Amycus did separate me from Heracles, who dwells afar, 
for they have long cut great slices from my land, till they 
set their boundaries at the water-meadows of the Hypius. 
Yet have they paid the penalty to you, and I trow that he, 
the son of Tyndarus, brought not death this day upon the 
Bebryces without the will of heaven, what time he slew 
yon man. Wherefore now whatso thanks I can return, 
that will I right gladly. For that is right for weaklings, 
when others that be stronger than them begin to help 
them; so with you all and in your company I charge 
Dascylus my son to follow ; 2 and if he go, verily ye shall 
meet with friends on your voyage as far as the mouth of 
Thermodon itself. Moreover I will dedicate to the sons of 
Tyndarus 3 a temple high upon the Acherusian hill ; to it 

•of the giant Briareus, was the ninth of the labours laid upon Heracles 
by his task-master Eurystheus. 

1 Im GavnvroQy "at the time of the death," a frequent use of liri with 
the genit. Cf. iiri Kvpov fiaaiktvovroQ = "in the reign of Cyrus." 

a i.e. I will send my son Dascylus with you ; his presence will insure 
you hospitable treatment as far as the Thermodon. vootyi, " apart from 
this/ 1 i.e. over and above this. 

3 The sons of Tyndarus, Castor and Pollux, were the special pro- 
tectors of sailors. 

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[book II 

shall all sailors seek when they see it in the far distance 
o'er the sea ; yea, and hereafter will I set apart for them 
before the city, as for gods, fat lands on the well-tilled 
plain/ 1 

So then, the livelong day, they took their pastime at the 
feast, but at dawn they went down in haste unto the ship, 
yea, and with them went Lycus too, bringing countless 
gifts to bear away, for with them was he sending from his 
house his son to fare. 

There the doom of his fate smote Idmon, son of 
Abas, most excellent seer; yet could not his divining 
save him, for fate led him on to die. For within the water- 
mead beside the reedy river lay a boar, with white tusks, 
cooling his flanks and huge belly in the mud, a deadly 
monster, whereof even the nymphs that haunt the meads 
were afraid ; and no man knew of his being there, for all 
alone along the broad marsh he browsed. Now he, the son 
of Abas, was passing by the springs of that muddy river, 
when lo ! the boar leapt up from some unseen lair among 
the reeds and charged and smote him on the thigh, cutting 
sinews and bone right in twain. And with one bitter cry 1 
down fell he upon the ground, and his comrades flocking 
round cried o'er their smitten fellow. But Peleus made 
one quick lunge with his hunting-spear at the boar as he 
darted in flight into the marsh, and out he rushed again 
to charge them, but Idas smote him, and with one grunt 
he fell grovelling about the sharp spear. And there they 
left him on the ground where he fell, and sorrowfully bare 
their swooning comrade to the ship, but he died in his 
companions' arms. 

So they stayed them from all thought of sailing, and 
abode in bitter grief for the burial of the dead man. Three 
full days they mourned, and on the fourth made him a 

1 o£v jcXaySac, "with one sharp cry." Notice the true force of the 
aorist excellently exemplified — instantaneous action. 

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L. 809-865.] THE ARGONATJTICA. 81 

splendid funeral ; and the people, with Lyeus their king as 
well, joined in the funeral rites ; and at the grave-side they 
cut the throats of countless sheep, as is the meed of the 
departed. So in that land this warrior's cairn was heaped, 
and upon it is a sign 1 for those who may yet be born to see, 
a log of wild olive such as ships are builded of, which 
putteth forth her leaf a little below the Acherusian head- 
land. Yea, and if I must needs declare this also clearly in 
my song, Phoebus bade the Boeotians, who came from Nissea, 
worship him, nothing doubting, as the protector of their 
city, and found a town about that log of ancient olive ; 
but 2 these to-day do honour to Agamestor instead of Idmon, 
god-like son of JSolus. 

Who next did die ? that 3 must I tell ; for yet again the 
heroes piled a barrow for a comrade dead. For verily there 
are yet two tombs of those two men to be seen. 'Tis said 
that Tiphys, son of Hagnias, died, for it was not appointed 
him to voyage further. Nay, a short illness closed there 
his eyes far from his fatherland, 4 while his company were 
burying the dead son of Abas. And bitter was the grief 
they felt at this cruel woe. For when they had buried him 
too beside the other there, they threw themselves down in 
their distress before the sea, closely wrapped from head to 
foot, and never a word they spake nor had they any thought 
for meat or drink, but sorrow made their spirit droop ; for 
very far from their hopes was their return, and in their 

1 oripa, i.e. the monument to mark his grave. 

a i.e. Phoebus commanded the Nisseans to found a city near the 
tomb of Idmon and pay him honour, but they in lapse of time con- 
fused Idmon with Agamestor, a native hero, and worshipped the latter 

3 yap 6i) = " you must know," introducing something new ; collo- 
quially we might say " to continue." yap otV = " for indeed/' giving a 
reason for what has immediately preceded, i.e. "I should not have 
mentioned this fact unless . . . ." 

4 tiooTt = iv bVy xpovy, "whilst." 


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anguish would they have stopped from going any further, 
{/ had not Hera put exceeding courage in the breast of 
Ancseus, whom Astypalaea bare to Poseidon by the waters 
of Imbrasus ; 1 for a right good steersman was he. So he 
did up anon, and spake to Peleus, " Son of iEacus, how can 
this be well to linger on in a strange land, neglectful of our 
enterprise ? Jason hath in me, whom he is leading from 
Parthenie away to fetch the fleece, a man whose skill in 
war is only second to his knowledge of ships ; wherefore I 
pray you, let this fear for the ship be short-lived. Yea, and 
there be others here, men of skill ; and whomso of these we 
shall set over the helm, none shall harm our voyaging. 
But quickly tell all this comfort out ; then boldly rouse 
them to a remembrance of their labour." 

So spake he, and the heart of the other went out to 2 him 
in gladness ; and anon, without delay, he made harangue 
in their midst, " God help us, sirs ! why nurse we thus our 
grief in vain ? The dead, I trow, have died the death that 
fell to their lot, but there are amongst us, methinks, helms- 
men in our company, aye, plenty of them. Wherefore 
delay we no more our attempt, but up to your work, cast- 
ing sorrow to the winds." 

To him the son of iEson made answer, much perplexed : 
" Son of JSacus, where then be these steersmen ? For they 
whom aforetime we boasted were men of skill, hang down 
their heads, more vexed at me than ever. Wherefore I fore- 
see a sorry fate for us as well as for the dead, if indeed it 
be our lot neither to come to the city of baleful JEetes, nor 
ever again to pass the rocks and reach the land of Hellas ; 
for here will a miserable doom hide us without fame, till 
we grow old for nought." So spake he ; but right speedily 

1 A river in Samos, formerly called Parthenius. 

2 dptKaro — 6ptyo), literally " I reach out ; " perhaps our phrase " went 
out to " may keep the meaning; in connexion with yr\9o<jvvyaiv it means 
little more than " was exceeding glad, yearned for joy." 



Ancaeus took upon him to steer the swift ship, for verily he 
was turned thereto by the prompting of the goddess. And 
after him arose Erginus and Nauplius and Euphemus, all 
•eager for to steer. But these did they hold therefrom, for 
many of the crew would have Ancaeus. 

So they went aboard on the twelfth day at dawn ; for 
lo ! a strong west wind did blow for them, and quickly they 
passed through the Acheron with rowing ; and, trusting to 
the wind, they shook out their sails, and so sped calmly on 
a goodly stretch under canvas. Quickly came they past 
the mouth of the river Callichorus, 1 where, men say, the 
Nysean son of Zeus, what time he left the tribes of India (l 
and came to dwell in Thebes, held his revels and led the 
dance before the cave, wherein he would sleep away the 
gloomy 2 hours of sacred night, wherefore they who dwell 
•around do call that river " Stream of fair dancing," and 
that cave " the Bedchamber," 3 after him. 

Sailing thence they saw the tomb of Sthenelus, 4 son of 

1 A river in Faphlagonia sacred to Dionysus, because he had held 
.revels here and danced. 

2 apetdrjTovg, " gloomy," either an ordinary epithet of the darkness of 
night, or possibly with an allusion to the secret mysteries of the opyta. 

3 'AvXiW = " resting-place." It seems better to give an English 
•equivalent for these Greek names ; otherwise the point of the appella- 
tion is apt to be lost. 

4 The tomb of Sthenelus, the son of Actor, is in Paphlagonia ; he had 
gone with Heracles against the Amazons, but had been wounded, and 
had died on the way home. His wraith now appears to the heroes, 
"having been allowed by the queen of Hades to gaze a little space upon 
his fellow-men. 

It is but a grim picture the ancient Greek poets draw of life in the 
other world. Everyone will remember the famous passage in Homer, 
where Achilles' spirit declares that he would sooner be a bondman to a 
poor man on earth than lord it over all the souls in Hades. This passage 
.here portrays the soul of another brave man craving, with many tears, 
4he scanty boon of seeing for a moment men in the flesh as he was once 

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Actor, who on his way back from the bold fight with the 
Amazons — for thither had he gone with Heracles — died 
there upon the beach, of an arrow wound. So then they 
sailed on no further. For Persephone herself sent forth 
the spirit of the son of Actor, at his piteous prayer, to gaze a 
little on men of like passions with himself. So he took his 
stand on the summit of his tomb and watched for the ship, 
in form even as when he went to the war, and on his head 
shone his four-plumed helmet with the blood-red crest. 
And then he passed once more beneath the mighty gloom ; 
but they marvelled at the sight, and Mopsus, son of 
Ampycus, did prophesy, and bade them anchor there and 
appease the spirit with drink-offerings. So they quickly 
furled the sails, and making fast the cables on the strand 
were busied about the tomb of Sthenelus, pouring libations 
to him, and offering sheep as victims. Moreover they did 
build, besides pouring libations, an altar to Apollo, pro- 
tector of ships, and burnt sheep thereon; and there 
Orpheus dedicated his lyre, whence that place is called 
" the Lyre." 

Anon, as the wind blew strong, they went aboard ; and 
set the sail and made it taut to either sheet ; 1 and Argo was 
carried at full speed to sea, even as when a falcon aloft 
through the air spreading his wings to the blast goes 
swiftly on his way, swerving not in his swoop, as he poises 
on steady pinions. And so they passed by the streams of 
Parthenius, 2 murmuring to the sea, gentlest of rivers, 
wherein the virgin child of Leto doth cool her limbs in its 
lovely waters, whenso she ascendeth to heaven from the 
chase. Then speeding ever onward through the night 

1 iro&ic, u the sheets," i.e. the ropes by which the sails are tightened 
and slackened. 

2 TlapOtvioio, i.e. the Maiden's stream, so called because Artemis, the 
virgin goddess, bathed therein, or because of the pureness of its water. 
It is a river in Paphlagonia, falling into the sea near the city Sesamus. 

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X. 914-971.] THE ABOONAUTICA. 85 

they sailed out past Sesamus and the steep Erythinian 
hills, Crobialus, and Cromne, and wooded Cytorus. Next 
after doubling Carambis, as the sun was rising, they rowed 
all day and all night too along a vast stretch of sand. 

Anon they set foot on the soil of Assyria, where Zeus, 
tricked by his own promise, set down Sinope, daughter of 
Asopus, and granted her her virgin state. For verily he 
longed for her love ; so the great god promised to give her 
whatsoever her heart desired; and she in her cunning 
asked her maidenhood. So too did she beguile Apollo, 
^ager for her love, and after them the river Halys ; nor did 
any man ever subdue her in love's embrace. There were 
dwelling even yet at that day the sons of noble Deiniachus, 
prince of Trice®, Deileon and Autolycus and Phlogius, 
after they had wandered away from Heracles. Now these, 
when they marked the expedition of the chieftains, came 
forth to meet them, and told them truly who they were ; 
for they had no wish to abide there any longer, but went 
aboard the ship, soon as ever the clear 1 south- wind blew. 
So in their company they sped before the swift breeze, and 
left the river Halys, and Iris, that flows hard by, yea, and 
that part 2 of Syria that these have formed ; and on that day 
they rounded the distant headland of the Amazons, that 
«hutteth in their harbour. 

There on a day the hero Heracles laid in ambush for 
Melanippe, daughter of Aretius, as she came forth ; and, 
in ransom for her sister, Hippolyte gave him her dazzling 
girdle ; so he set her free unhurt. 

1 apyt vrao, from apyoc, " bright, shining/' the same word that appears 
in the Homeric apyti<povri)Q. Hence the wind that clears the sky of 
-clouds and makes it bright, i.e. the South-wind. 

* vpoxvaiv xflowf, " alluvial deposit " such as most great rivers wash 
down in their course, e.g. the Delta of the Nile is entirely formed by the 
earth brought down by the stream and deposited at its mouth. In this 
case the Halys and Iris have formed what was called afterwards Leuco- 

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[BOOK Tim 

They then anchored in a bay behind the headland, at the* 
mouth of the Thermodon, for the sea was rising against- 
their going. This river hath no counterpart, nor is there 
any other that sendeth forth from itself upon the earth so 
many streams. If a man should count each up, there 
would lack but four of a hundred. 1 Yet is there only one 
real spring, which cometh down from high mountains unto- 
the land. Men say these are called the Amazonian moun- 
tains. Thence it spreads straight over a somewhat hilly 
country far inland, wherefore it hath a winding course, and 
ever it twists in different directions, wheresoever it can 
best find a flat country ; one branch far away, another near 
at hand ; and there be many of them, of which no man 
knoweth, where they lose themselves in the sand ; but it, 
mingling with a few openly, discharges its arching a flood of 
foam into cheerless Pontus. And now would they have 
stayed to do battle with the Amazons ; nor would they, I 
trow, have striven without bloodshed, for the Amazons are- 
no gentle folk, and cared not for justice in their dwellings- 
on the plain of Doias; nay, their thoughts were set on 
deeds of grievous violence, and the works of Ares ; for they r 
indeed, drew their stock from Ares and the nymph Har- 
monia, who bare these warrior daughters unto him, what 
time she won his love in the dells of the Acmonian grove ^ 
but once more, from Zeus mayhap, came the breath of the 
clear south-wind. And Argo left the round headland 
before the wind, where the Themiscyrean Amazons were 
doing on their harness. 

These dwelt not all together in one city, but were 
scattered over the land by tribes in three bodies ; apart 

1 A curiously roundabout way of saying that there are ninety-six dis- 
tinct streams, all starting, however, from one source. 

a icvprqv dxvrfv. If this reading be accepted, it means apparently the 
volume of water discharged by the river in foaming, arching billows into, 
the sea. 

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Ii. 972-1032.] THE ABGONAUTICA 

were those over whom Hippolyte was then queen; and 
apart dwelt the Lycastise, and apart the Chadesise, who 
hurl the spear. On the next day, as night drew on, they 
came unto the land of the Chalybes. These take no thought 
for ploughing with oxen, nor for any planting of luscious 
fruit; neither do they, strange folk, herd cattle in the 
dewy pasture. But cleaving open the stubborn earth with 
her store of iron, they do take therefrom a wage to barter 
for food ; for them dawn never riseth without toil, but mid 
soot and flame and smoke 1 they endure their heavy labour. 

Anon, after these, they doubled the headland of Zeus, 
the great father, and sailed safely by the land of the 
Tibareni. Here it is that when the women bear children 
to the men, 'tis the men that throw themselves upon their 
beds and groan, with their heads veiled, while the women 
tend them carefully with food, and get ready for them the 
bath they use after child-birth. 2 

Next they passed the Holy mountain and land, wherein 
upon the hills dwell the Mossynceci in wooden houses, and 
hence they have their name. Strange is their justice; 
strange their ordinances. All that men may do openly, 
either among the people or in the market-place, all this they 
perform at home; but all that we do in our houses, that r€ ' 
do they out of doors in the midst of the streets, with none 
to blame. In love is there no modesty among this people, 
but like swine that feed in herds, caring not a jot for the 
presence of any, they lie with their women upon the ground. 
Now their king sitteth in a house of wood, high above the 
rest, and declareth just judgment to the throng of folk. 
Poor wretch ! for if haply he do err at all in his judging, 
they keep him shut up that day without food. 

By these they passed, and, rowing all day long, cleft 

1 Xiyi/vc is properly smoke with flame showing through it. 

2 Travellers assert that the extraordinary customs here alluded to as 
practised by the Tibareni may still be witnessed amongst the Chinese. 

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their way, till they were almost opposite to the isle of 
Ares, for towards dusk the light breeze failed. Already 
they saw one of those birds of Ares that haunt the isle 
come swooping through the air from above, which did 
stretch his pinions o'er the speeding ship and shoot against 
her a sharp feather, and it fell on the left shoulder of 
goodly Oileus ; and he let his oar fall from his hands, for 
he was wounded ; but they marvelled to see the feathered 
shaft. And Eribotes from his seat hard by drew forth the 
feather and bound up the wound, having loosed the baldric 
hanging from his own scabbard ; and lo ! there appeared 
another swooping down after the former, but the hero 
Clytius, the son of Eurytus slew it, for he had ere this 
stretched his bended bow, and he shot a swift arrow at the 
bird, even as it flew above ; and it fell with a rush hard by the 
swift ship ; then amongst them spake Amphidamas, the 
son of Aleus : " Nigh to us is the isle of Ares ; be sure of 
that from seeing these birds with your own eyes. And I 
think that arrows will not help us much to disembark; 
but let us provide some other counsel for our help, if haply 
ye mean to anchor here, mindful of the bidding of Phineus. 
For not even Heracles, when he came to Arcadia, was able 
to drive away with his arrows the birds that swam 1 on the 
Stymphalian mere ; that saw I with mine own eyes. But 
he, shaking his rattling bronze armour in his hands, did 
raise a din upon a lofty height, and they were scared afar, 
screaming in frightful terror. Wherefore now let us too 
devise some such plan, and I will tell you myself, since I 
have ere this thought upon it. Put on your heads your 
high-crested helmets, and half of you take turns at rowing, 
and the other half guard 2 the ship with polished spears and 

1 7r\ti>tSag } so called because tbey swam about the Stymphalian lake 
in Arcadia, whence Heracles had chased them. 

9 apatre, Ionic future from <ipapi'<ncw, i.e. from the notion of joining 
comes that of roofing in the ship, as it were, with a penthouse of shields. 

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It. 1033-1099.] THE ABGONAUTICA. 89 

bucklers. And at once raise a mighty shout all together, 
that they may be scared by the uproar, from being unused 
thereto, and the nodding plumes and uplifted spears. And 
if we reach the island itself, then shout and raise a hideous 
din by smiting on your shields." 

So spake he ; and his helpful counsel pleased them all ; 
so about their heads they put their brazen helmets, dread- 
fully flashing, and upon them waved the blood-red plumes. 
And part took turns at rowing, while the rest with sword 
and shield did guard the ship. As when a man doth roof 
a house with tiles, an ornament to his house and a defence 
against the rain, as one tile is fitted firmly on another ; so 
they covered in the ship with a pent-house of shields. And 
as the clash that goeth up from a warlike throng of men in 
motion, what time the lines of battle meet, even such was 
the sound that rose into the air on high from the ship. 
Nor could they see any of the birds the while, but when 
they drew nigh the island and smote upon their bucklers, 
forthwith those birds rose in thousands, flying this way and 
that. As when the son of Cronos sends a heavy hailstorm 
from the clouds on city and houses, and they who dwell 
beneath them hear the rattle on their roofs and sit in 
silence, for the wintry season is not come upon them un- 
awares, but ere its coming have they made fast the roof ; 
even so the birds let loose on them a thick shower of shafts, 
as they darted high o'er the sea to the hills on the farther 

What did Phineus mean, (that must I tell,) in bidding 
the divine company of heroes anchor here ? or what help 
was to come to them at their desire ? The sons of Phrixus 
had gone on board a Colchian ship, and were faring to the 
city of Orchomenus from Mel, at the direction of Cyteean 
JEetes, that they might take unto themselves the boundless 
wealth of their father, for he, as he lay a-dying, laid this 
journey on them. And very nigh were they to the island 

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[book II 

on that day. But Zeus stirred up the mighty north-wind 
to blow, marking the wet path of Arcturus in the waves ; 
so all day long he shook the leaves upon the mountains a> 
little, blowing lightly on the topmost branches, but at night 
came he seaward in his giant strength, roaring and stirring 
the billow with his breath ; and a dark mist veiled the sky, 
nor were the bright stars to be seen from the clouds, but a- 
curtain of gloom settled over all. And they, the sons of 
Phrixus, dripping and in terror of a fearsome death, were 
drifting thus before the waves. And the furious wind rent 
their sails, yea, and brake their ship in pieces, shaken as it 
was by the breakers. Then by heaven's guidance those 
four men seized hold upon a mighty beam, such as were 
scattered in plenty, after the wreck, held together by sharp 
bolts. And them did the waves and the breath of the wind 
drive in sore distress unto the island, within a little of death. 
Anon there burst on them a wondrous 1 storm of rain, and 
it rained over the sea and the island, and all the coast over 
against the island, where dwelt the haughty Mossynceci. 
And the onset of the wave hurled them, the sons of Phrixus, 
together with the stout beam, upon the beach of the island 
in the gloom of night ; but at sunrise it ceased, that heaven- 
sent torrent, and quickly they drew nigh and met one an- 
other, and Argus first made harangue : — 

" By Zeus, who seeth all, we do entreat you, whosoever 
ye be, to be favourable and help us at our need. For rough 
tempests, grievously buffeting the sea, have scattered piece- 
meal the timbers of our shameful barque, 3 wherein we were 

1 aGtfftfxiToc. Etymol. a negat., ffcoc, Qavat, i.e. impossible for even 
gods to tell, i.e. marvellously great. 

2 atiKtXirjQ vfibc = " that sorry ship of ours/' JEetes, wishing to get 
rid of the sods of Phrixus, had encouraged them to undertake their 
voyage to Orchomenus, but had purposely given them an unseaworthy 
ship that they might be wrecked. He was afraid of them, because an oracle 
had warned him of dangers to come from his own family. He failed to guess 
that Medea, not Chalciope and her sons, was the real cause of danger. 

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L. 1100-1161.] THE ARGON AUTICA. 91 

cleaving our way, on business bent. Wherefore now we 
implore you, if ye will hearken, give us some rag to wrap 
around our skin and take us hence, in pity for companions 
in adversity. Yea, reverence suppliant strangers for the 
sake of Zeus, the god of strangers and suppliants ; for we 
are both suppliants of Zeus and strangers. And, I trow, 
he hath his eye even upon us." 

Him in answer did the son of JEson question carefully, 
for he thought that the prophecies of Phineus were being 
accomplished, " Anon will we provide all these things with 
good will. But come now, tell me truly, in what country 
ye dwell, and the business that bids you fare across the sea, 
and your own famous name and lineage." 

And Argus answered him in helpless misery, " Haply ye 
have heard yourselves even aforetime, I deem, and of a 
surety, how one Phrixus, son of iEolus, came from Hellas 
unto iEa, — that Phrixus, who came to the town of Metes, 
sitting astride a ram, the ram that Hermes made of gold ; 
taea, and even now might ye see the fleece fluttering on the 
(rough branches of an oak. For afterwards, by the ram's 
own counsel, Phrixus sacrificed him to Zeus, the son of 
Cronos, who helpeth fugitives, 1 before all other gods. Him 
did JSetes receive into his house and gave to him his 
daughter Chalciope without gifts of wooing in the gladness 
of his heart. From these twain are we sprung. But he, 
even Phrixus, died long ago, full of years, in the halls of 
JEetes ; and we, obeying our father's command, set out at 
once to Orchomenus to take the possessions of Athamas. 
And if, as thou sayest, thou hast a mind to learn our name, 
lo ! this man is called Cytisorus, and this Phrontis, and 
that Melas, and me myself shall ye call Argus." 

So spake he ; and the chieftains were glad at the meet- 
ing, and they crowded round them in wonder. But Jason 

1 Qvliog. Zeus was worshipped under this title amongst the Thes- 

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again made answer thus, as was fitting : " Why, lo ! ye 
come as kinsmen 1 of my father and beg our kindly aid in 
your wretchedness. For Cretheus and Athamas were 
brothers ; and I, the grandson of Cretheus, am on my way 
with these my comrades from Hellas itself into the city of 
Metes. But we will speak of these matters yet again to 
each other ; but first put on raiment ; for by heaven's 
guidance, I ween, have ye come to my hands in your 

Therewith he gave them raiment from the ship to put 
on. And at once thereafter made they for the temple of 
Ares, to offer sacrifice of sheep, and right eagerly they set 
themselves about the altar, which stood outside the roofless 
temple, built of pebbles ; within is a black stone planted, 
the holy stone whereto in days gone by all the Amazons 
did pray, nor was it lawful, when these did come from the 
mainland opposite, to burn sacrifices of oxen and sheep 
upon this altar, but they kept great herds of horses and 
sacrificed them. Now when the heroes had done sacrifice 
and eaten the feast they had prepared, then did the son of 
iEson take up his parable and begin to speak : " Zeus hath 
still his eye on all things, I trow ; and of a surety we men 
escape not his ken, those of us who be god-fearing, nor yet 
those who be just ; for even so he rescued your father from 
a murderous step-mother, 2 and gave him boundless wealth 
away from her ; and even so hath he also rescued you un- 
hurt from the destroying storm. And ye may fare upon 
this ship this way or that, whither ye list, either to iEa, or 
to the rich city of goodly Orchomenus. For 'twas Athene 

1 yvwToi = wyysviiQ. The relationship comes thus : Cretheus and 
Athamas were brothers, Mstm was the son of Cretheus, Jason the son 
of jEson. Phrixus was the son of Athamas, Argus the son of Phrixus. 
Jason and Argus were therefore cousins. 

* ^ovoio prirpviriQ, " murder by a stepmother," i.e. Ino, who was 
jealous of her step-children. 


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L. 1162-1218.] THE ARGONAUTICA. 93 

that built this ship and cut with brazen axe her timbers 
about the peak of Pelion ; and with the goddess worked 
Argus. But that ship of yours hath the angry wave riven 
asunder, or ever she came nigh to the rocks which clash to- 
gether the livelong day in the sea's narrow channel. But 
come now, even ye, and help us in our struggle to bring the 
fleece of gold to Hellas, and be our pilots, for I am sent to 
make full atonement for the attempted sacrifice 1 of Phrixus, 
^ that stirred the wrath of Zeus against the sons of iEolus." 
So spake he to comfort them, but they would none of it 
when they heard ; for they thought they would find JEetes 
no gentle host, if they desired to take the ram's fleece. 
Thus spake Argus, sore vexed that they were bent on such 
a quest, " My friends, the strength that is in us shall never 
be withheld from helping you, no, not one jot, when any 
j need arise. But terribly is jEetes furnished with deadly 
J cruelty. Wherefore I do greatly fear to voyage thither. 
He avows him 2 to be the son of Helios, and around him 
dwell countless tribes of Colchians, and he might match 
even with Ares his dread war cry and mighty strength. 
Yea, and 'twere no easy task to take the fleece away from 
iEetes ; so huge a serpent keepeth guard around and about 
it, a deathless, sleepless snake, which earth herself did rear 
in the wolds of Caucasus, by the rock of Typhon, where 
they say Typhon, smitten by the bolt of Zeus, the son of ' 
Cronos, what time he stretched out his strong hands against I j 
him, did drop warm gore from his head ; and he came with » 
this wound to the mountains and plain of Nysa ; where to this 
day he lies, deep beneath the waters of the Serbonian 3 mere." 

1 i.e. Pelias had sent Jason ostensibly to fetch, the golden fleece, for 
an oracle had said that there should be no peace for the sons of JEolus 
until the fleece was brought to Iolchos, for Zeus was wroth at the treat- 
ment Phrixus had received j Qvrjkag QpilZoio is therefore = the attempted 
sacrifice of Phrixus. 

a GTtvTai, Lat. jactare, " avows himself, boasts." 

3 " The Serbonian lake " is near Pelusium in Egypt. 

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So spake he ; and o'er the cheek of many did paleness 
spread at once, when they heard the greatness of their 
labour. But Peleus quickly answered and said, with brave 
words, " Be not so exceeding fearful at heart, my trusty 
friend. 1 For we are not so wanting in valiancy, as to be no 
match for a bout in arms with -Sletes ; nay, methinks we 
too came hither knowing somewhat of war, for we are near 
in blood to the blessed gods. Wherefore if he give us not 
the fleece of gold for love, I trow his tribes of Colchians 
shall not much avail him." 

Thus did they hold converse together, until, satisfied 
with food, they fell asleep. And when they woke at dawn, 
a gentle breeze was blowing ; so they set the sails, which 
did strain before the rushing wind ; and swiftly they left 
the isle of Ares on the lee. 

On the following night they passed the isle of Philyra, 3 
where Cronos, son of Uranus, lay with Philyra, having 
deceived Ehea, when he ruled the Titans on Olympus, and 
that other, Zeus, was yet being reared in a cave in Crete by 
the Idsean Curetes ; but the goddess caught them in the 
midst of their dalliance ; and he sprang up and sped away 
in the semblance of a horse with flowing mane, but she, 
that child of Oceanus, Philyra, left that country and those 
haunts in shame, and came to the distant hills of the 
Pelasgi, where she bare to him in return for his love huge 
Chiron, half horse, half god in appearance. 

Thence they sailed on past the Macrones and the bound- 
less coast of the Becheiri, and the lawless Sapeir®, and the 
Byzerae next to them ; for ever onward they cleft their way 

1 rj9u£, mostly an address of respect by a younger man to an elder, 
though often, as here, the address of one friend to another. 

3 So called from Philyra, the daughter of Oceanus, who lived there. 
Cronos, when he ruled over the Titans, formed a connexion with Philyra, 
but being discovered by his wife Rhea, he changed himself into a stallion 
and fled, while Philyra retired to Thessaly and there gave birth to Chiron 
the Centaur, who was half man, half horse. 1 

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l. 1219-1279.] 



in haste, borne forward by the gentle wind. And as they 
sailed, there came in sight a bay of the sea, and before 
them rose up the steep cliffs of the Caucasian mountains, 
where Prometheus was feeding with his liver an eagle, 
swooping back again and again, his limbs fast bound to the 
hard rocks with bands of brass, unbreakable ; that eagle 
did they see at eve skimming right above the ship with 
loud rush of wings nigh to the clouds, and yet he made all 
the sails to shake as he napped his pinions. For he had 
not the form of a bird of the air, but, when he moved his 
swift feathers, they were like to polished oars. And no 
long time after, they heard a bitter cry, as the liver of 
Prometheus was torn, and the welkin rang with his screams, N y( 
until again they marked the savage eagle soaring on his i 

(way from the mountain ; and at night, by the skill of 
lArgus, came they to the broad stream of the Phasis, and 
the uttermost ends of the sea. 

Anon they furled and put away the sails and the yard- 
arm within the hollow mast-hold, and they let down the 
mast too along the deck, and quickly rowed into the river's 
broad current ; and he dashed all round them, yet gave 
way. Upon their left hand they kept steep Caucasus and 
the Cytsean town of Msl, and next the plain of Ares and 
that god's sacred grove, where the serpent keepeth watch 
and ward o'er the fleece as it hangs on the oak's rough 
branches. Then did the son of iEson with his own hand 
pour a libation sweet as honey, of unmixed wine, from a 
golden chalice into the river to Earth and the gods of that 
land, 1 and the spirits of heroes dead and gone ; and he be- 
sought them to be his kindly helpers graciously, and to 
allow a fair anchoring of the ship. And forthwith Ancseus 

1 ivvaiTcuc = lyxup'ioic, " gods of the country j M a precaution usual 
amongst Greeks to sacrifice to the gods and heroes of any new country 
in which they might find themselves. In the same way Alexander of 
Macedon went out of his way to sacrifice to Zeus Ammon. 

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spake this word amongst them, " Lo ! we are come to the 
Colchian land and the stream of Phasis ; 'tis high time to 
make plans for ourselves, whether indeed we will try JSetes 
with gentleness, or whether haply some different attempt 
shall win the day." 

So spake he ; and Jason, by the advice of Argus, bade 
them row the ship into a shaded backwater 1 and let her ride 
at anchor in deep water, and that they found close by ; 
so there they bivouacked for the night ; and no long time 
jafter appeared the dawn to their longing eyes. 

1 tAoc = properly " a marsh, water meadow," but this scarcely fits the 
context j possibly "a backwater" is meant. Here they would run less 
risk of being observed. 

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Hera and Athene persuade Aphrodite to send Eros to Medea. Mean- 
time Jason comes to ^Eetes, king of Colchis, and begs the fleece ; but 
the king was exceeding wroth, and set him great labours to perform, 
namely, to yoke two fire-breathing bulls, and sow the dragon's teeth 
upon Ares' acre, and then to slay the earth-born giants who should rise 
o'er the lea. 

But Medea is in love with Jason, and gives him drugs to tame those 
bulls, telling him how to accomplish all. Wherefore Jason finished the 
appointed task, to the grief and wonder of -ZEetes. 

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. — „ , x t i /.. , ? 

COME now, Erato, 1 stand at my side and tell, how Jason 
brought the fleece hence to Iolchos by the love of 
Medea. For thou too hast a share in all that the Cyprian 
queen decrees, and by thy cares dost charm maidens yet 
unwed; wherefore is joined to thee a name that tells of 

Thus those chieftains abode in their ambush, unseen 
among the thick reeds, and the goddesses, Hera and Athene, 
were ware of them ; so they came unto a chamber, apart 
from Zeus himself and the other immortal gods, and took 
counsel together ; and first did Hera make trial of Athene : 
u Do thou now first begin with thy plan, daughter of Zeus. 
What is to be done? wilt thou devise some crafty wile, 
whereby they shall take the golden fleece from Metes and 
carry it to Hellas, or shall they haply persuade him with 
gentle words and so prevail? For surely he is terribly 
haughty. And yet it is not right that any attempt of ours 
should be turned aside." 

So spake she; and Athene answered her at once : " I was 
even pondering these very things myself, Hera, when thou 
didst question me outright ; but not yet, methinks, have I 

1 'EpaTio, the Muse of dancing. The name of this Muse at first sight 
seems introduced here merely to bring in a weak play upon words — t/ouc, 
'Eparw, kiriiparov. But as this third book is to relate Jason's wooing and 
winning of Medea, there is a certain appropriateness in an address to 
the Muse who presided over such festivities as were customary at 
weddings. 'Eparw vocat. = 'Eparol Attice. 

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devised a plan to help those chieftains brave, though man^ r 
are the schemes my mind revolves." ' v 

Therewith those goddesses fixed their eyes upon the 
ground before them, pondering separately in their hearts. 
Anon, when she had thought thus awhile, Hera broke the 
silence : " Let us hence to Cypris ; and, when we are come, 
let us both urge her to speak unto her boy, if haply he can 
be persuaded to shoot an arrow at the daughter of JDetes, 
mighty sorceress, and bewitch her with love of Jason. 
For, methinks, he woirid by her helping counsel bear the 
Ifleece to Hellas." 

So spake she ; and her sage plan pleased Athene, and 
once more she answered her with winning words : " Ah ! 
Hera, my sire begat me to know nought of the darts of 
love, nor wot I of any magic spell of desire. But if this 
word pleaseth thee thyself, surely I will follow ; but thou 
must speak when thou comest before her." 

Therewith went they darting to the great house of Cypris, 
the house which her lord of the strong arms had builded 
for her, when first he brought her from Zeus to be his 
bride. So they entered the courtyard and stood beneath 
the corridor that led to her chamber, where the goddess 
used to make ready the couch of Hephaestus. But he had 
gone to his smithy 1 and anvils at dawn, a cavern vast 
within a floating island, wherein he wo aid forge all manner 
of cunning work with the blast of fire ; so she was sit- 
ting alone in her house on her rounded chair, facing the 
door, and she was combing her hair with a golden comb, 
letting it cover her white shoulders on either side, and she 
was in the act of plaiting her long tresses when she saw them 
before her, and stopped; and she bade them enter, and 
arose from her throne and made them sit on seats ; then 
sat she down herself and bound up her uncombed hair 

1 Hephaestus' forge was said to be in Lipara, one of the isles of jEolus,. 
not far from Sicily. 

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l. 20-76.] 



with her two hands. And thus with a smile she spake to 
them in wheedling words, " Fair ladies, what purpose or 
I business doth bring you hither after so long a time ? and 
why are ye twain come that came not very often aforetime 
[to visit me ? for ye are far above all other goddesses." '7?! 

Thus then did Hera answer her in turn: "Thou dost 
mock us ; but the heart of us twain is stirred by sore mis- 
chance. For even now in the river Phasis the son of JEson 
stays his ship, and those others who come with him to 
fetch the fleece. Verily for them all do we fear exceedingly, 
since their work is nigh, but most of all for the son of 
^Eson. Him will I save, though he sail even to Hades, to 
free Ixion 1 there below from his fetters of brass, so far as ^ 
there is any strength in my limbs, that Pelias may not 
mock if he escape his evil doom ; he who in his haughtiness 
left me without my meed of sacrifice. Yea, and, beyond all 
that, Jason was ever dear to me aforetime, from that day 
when he met me at the mouth of the swollen Anaurus, as 
he came up from hunting, and I did test the righteousness 
of men ; and all the hills and towering crags were coated 
with snow, and their torrents came rushing down from 
them with loud roar. But he had compassion on me in 
the likeness of an old hag, and took me up upon his 
shoulders and bore me through the headlong flood. Where- 
fore he hath honour of me unceasingly, nor shall Pelias 
work outrage upon him, even though thou grant him not 
his return." 

So spake she ; but speechlessness seized Cypris. For she 

1 Ixion was bound to an ever-turning wheel by Zeus because he had in- 
sulted Hera. " Even him,' , says Hera, " I would release if Jason required 
it, for I remember how he showed kindness to me on the day I made 
trial of men's hearts/' Hera had assumed the form of an old woman, 
in which guise Jason had found her on the banks of the swollen 
torrent Anaurus ; and when she would go over but dare not, Jason 
carried her across upon his shoulders, and knew not that it was the 


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| was awe-struck at seeing Hera ask a favour of her, and 
she answered her with kindly words, " Dread goddess, may 
nought worse than Cypris 1 ever come to thee, if I neglect 
thy desire in word or deed, so far as these weak hands can 
.effect aught ; and let me have no thanks in return. ,, 

So spake she ; and Hera once again made prudent speech : 
" We come not to thee through lack of might or strength 
at all. But, as thou canst, softly bid thy boy bewitch the 
daughter of JSetes a with passion for the son of JEson. For 
if she do help him with friendly counsel, lightly, I trow, 
will he take the golden fleece and return to Iolchos ; for she 
is very crafty." 

j So spake she ; and Cypris said unto them both, " Hera, 
land Athene, he will obey you rather than me. For shame- 
lless as he is, haply will he have some little reverence at 
(sight of you, but me he regardeth not, but ever and aye he 
tlighteth me, and striveth with me. And lo ! overcome by 
his naughtiness, I have a mind to break his bow and ill- 
sounding arrows before his eyes ; for in a burst of anger he 
threatened me on this wise, that if I would not keep my 
hands off him, whilst he was mastering his temper, I would 
have only myself to blame hereafter." 

So spake she ; and the goddesses smiled, and looked at 
one another ; but Cypris answered with a sigh, " Others can 
laugh at my sorrows, nor ought I to tell them to every 
one ; enough that my own heart knows them. But now 
since this is the will of both of you, I will try and coax 
him, nor will he disobey." 

So spake she ; and Hera stroked her dainty hand, and 
with a soft smile spake to her in answer, " Yes, even so 
accomplish this business now at once, as thou sayest, O 

1 i.e. may all of whom you make requests be as easy to persuade as 
Aphrodite, then will you ever gain your point. Merely a rhetorical way 
of saying that she will do all she can. 

2 i.e. Medea. 

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l. 77-137.] 



Cytherea, and distress not thyself at all, nor wrathf ully strive 
with thy child, for he shall cease tormenting thee hereafter." 

Therewith she left her seat, and Athene went with her. 
So they twain went back again, and Cypris too went on her 
way through the wolds of Olympus, to see if she could find 
her son. And she found him far away in a blooming 
orchard of Zeus, not alone, but Ganymede was with him ; 
he it was whom Zeus on a day brought to dwell in heaven 
with the immortals, eager for his beauty. And those 
twain were sporting with golden dice, as youths alike in 
habits will. Now the one, even greedy Eros, held the palm 
of his left hand quite full already beneath his breast as he 
stood there upright ; and a sweet blush was mantling on 
the skin of his cheeks ; but the other sat crouching near in 
moody silence, and he held two dice, casting one forth upon 
the other, where he sat, and he was angered at the loud 
laughter of Eros. Now when he had lost these at once as 
well as the first, away he went with empty hands, helpless, 
and he was not ware of Cypris as she drew nigh ; so she 
stood facing her child, and at once, laying her hand upon 
his mouth, she spake to him : " Thou monstrous rogue, why 
laughest thou ? surely thou didst cheat him, poor dupe, at 
that game, and thou didst not fairly get the better of him. 
But come now, accomplish readily the business I shall tell 
thee of, and verily I will give thee that fair plaything, 
which his fond nurse, Adresteia, made for Zeus, in the 
cave of Ida, while he was yet a little child, a ball well- 
rounded, than which thou canst get no fairer toy from the 
hands of Hephaestus. Of gold are his circles fashioned, 1 

1 The description of the ball is rather puzzling on account of the 
numerous allusions to the seams in it. icv*\a = the pieces of which the 
ball was made ; a^Ifoc are the fastenings which hold it together ; 
pa<pai are the stitches of these fastenings ; while over and around all the 
fastenings runs a spiral («Xt£) of blue, not as a fastening, but as an orna- 
ment to the whole work. 

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and round each runneth a double fastening, holding them 
together, but the seams thereof are hidden, for a blue 
spiral runneth over them all. And if thou toss it in thy 
hands, it sends a track of flame through the air, like a star. 
Yea, this will I give thee, but do thou shoot at the daughter 
of ,/Eetes and bewitch her with love for Jason, and let 
there be no delay, for then would the gratitude be 

So spake she ; and 'twas a welcome word to him when 
he heard. Down he threw all his toys, and caught hold of 
the goddess's robe with both hands eagerly on either side. 
And he besought her instantly to give it him at once ; but 
she met him with gentle words, and drew his cheek to hers 
and put her arms round him and kissed him, answering : 
" Be witness 1 now thine own darling head and mine, that I 
will surely give it thee, and will not deceive thee, if thou 
fix thy shaft in the heart of the daughter of jEetes." 

Thus she ; and he gathered his dice together, and, after 
counting them all carefully, cast them into the fold of his 
mother's bright robe. Next he slung about him with a 
belt of gold his quiver, which was hanging on a tree- 
trunk, and he took up his bended bow, and went on his 
way from the halls of Zeus through the fruitful orchard. 
Then came he forth from the heavenly gates of Olympus, 
where is a path down from heaven ; for the world's two 
poles, the highest points on earth, whereon the sun at his 
rising rests with his earliest rays, uphold steep mountain- 
tops ; while below, on the one side, Earth, the life-giver, 
and the cities of men, and sacred river-streams, and, on 
the other, hills and sea all round appeared to him, as he 
passed through the wide upper air. 

Now the heroes sat in council on the ship's benches, in 
their ambush apart, in a backwater of the, river. And 

1 i.e. I swear by myself and by the love I bear you. 

l. 138-196.] 



amongst them the son of JCson himself was speaking, 
while they, sitting quietly in their place in order, did listen : 
" My friends, surely I will tell you what seems good to me 
myself ; but 'tis for you to bring it to pass. For all alike 
share this quest, and all alike can speak; and he who 
silently withholds his purpose and counsel, let him know, 
that 'tis he and he alone who robbeth this expedition of its 
[return. Do ye others abide here quietly in the ship with 
h our arms ; but I will go to the halls of Metes, taking the 
|sons of Phrixus and two comrades as well. And when I 
meet him, I will first see what words may do, whether he 
be willing to give us the golden fleece for love, or, if 1 he 
will not, but, trusting to his might, will not heed our 
quest. For thus of himself shall we learn his ill-will afore 
and devise, whether to meet him in the field, or whether 
there shall be some other plan to help us, if we restrain our 
battle-cry. But let us not deprive him of his possession 
|thus by force, till we have tried what words can do. Nay, 
'twere better first to go and conciliate him with words. 
Full oft, I wis, hath a word easily accomplished at need, 
what might would scarce have won, in that it seemed 
soothing. Yea, and this man too once welcomed gallant 2 
Phrixus as he fled from the wiles of a step-mother and the 
sacrifice 3 his father had prepared. For all men in all lands, 
even the most shameless, do reverence and regard the 
ordinance of Zeus, the god of strangers." 

So spake he ; and forthwith the young men agreed to the 
word of the son of ^son, and there was not one who could 
bid him do otherwise. So then he roused the sons of 

1 fa Kal ou. The $eai shows that the speaker does not anticipate that 
JEetes will give up the fleece for love. 

2 dpvpova, purely an " epitheton ornans," without any reference to 
the man's moral character or attributes, much as we say " my honourable 
friend," " the noble lord," &c. 

3 i.e. the sacrifice of his own son and daughter. 

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Phrixus and Telamon and Augeas to go with him ; and in 
his hand he took the wand of Hermes ; 1 and anon forth 
they went from the ship, beyond the reeds and water, 
toward the country over a rising plain. This, they say, is 
called the plain of Circe, and on it were growing in rows 
many willows and > osiers, 2 on whose branches hang dead 
men, bound with cords. For to this day 'tis an abomina- 
tion to Colchians to burn the corpses of men with fire ; 
nor is it lawful to lay them in the earth, and heap a cairn 
above them ; but two 3 men must roll them up in hides un- 
tanned, and fasten them to trees afar from the town. And 
yet the earth getteth an equal share with the air, for they 
bury their women folk in the ground; for such is the 
custom they have ordained. 

Now as the heroes went through the city, Hera, with 
friendly intent, shed a thick mist on them, that they might 
reach the house of JEetes, unseen by the countless Colchian 
folk ; but straight when they were come from the plain to 
the city and house of -ZEetes, then again did Hera disperse 
the cloud. And they stood at the entrance, astonied at the 
king's fenced walls and wide gates and columns, which 
stood in rows upholding the walls ; and above the house 

1 aK7)irrpov 'Ep/in'ao. This wand had been entrusted in the outset to 
the herald iEthalides as the badge of his sacred office— its presence 
would insure the safety of the bearer. 

a Curious customs of the Colchians, who do not bury men, but hang 
their corpses on trees. However, not to cheat the earth of its due, they 
resign to it the dead bodies of women ; by which means they consider 
that earth and air are both satisfied. 

3 KarttXwravrt. If this reading is the true one, it seems an extraor- 
dinary introduction of an unusual number, viz., the dual. This number 
has not been previously used in this connexion, and the only possible ex- 
planation of its meaning (" that two men wrap up each corpse ") seems 
exceedingly strained, to say the least of it. Many editions, previous to 
Wellauer, read carctXwravrcc, with an absolute disregard of metre ; the 
dual has now been substituted for the plural by subsequent editors, but 
it is difficult to believe that Apollonius wrote it so. 

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l. 197-246.] 




was a coping of stone resting upon triglyphs 1 of bronze. 
Then went they quietly over the threshold. And nigh 
thereto were garden-vines in full blossom, shooting on 
high, and covered with green young foliage. Beneath 
them flowed those four eternal springs, which Hephaestus 
digged, whereof the one did gush with milk, another with 
wine, while a third flowed with fragrant unguents, and the 
last gave a stream of water, which was warm at the setting 
of the Pleiads, and in turn at their rising spouted up cold 
as ice from the hollow rock. These were the wondrous 
works that crafty Hephaestus did devise in the halls of 
Cytaean Metes. And he fashioned for him bulls with 
brazen feet, and mouths of brass, wherefrom they breathed 
the fearful blaze of fire; yea, and he forged for him 
besides a plough of stout adamant, all of one piece, in re- 
turn for the kindness of Helios, 2 for he had taken him up 
in his chariot, when he was weary at the battle on Phlegra's 

Next was builded the inner court; and in the walls 
thereof on either side were close-folding doors and rooms ; 
and all along both walls ran a corridor of carved work ; 
and across at either end stood higher buildings ; in one of 
these, which towered over all, dwelt king iEetes with his 
wife, and in the other lived Absyrtus, 3 son of iEetes, whom 
Asterodia, nymph of Caucasus, bare, ere that Eidyia be- 
came his wedded wife, last-born child of Tethys and 
Oceanus ; him the sons of the Colchians did call by the t 
name of Phaethon, for he outshone all the young men. 

1 y\v<pwec, properly " the notch of an arrow " which fits on the string, 
here = rp*yXv0oi, which in Doric architecture is the three-grooved tablet 
placed at equal distances along the frieze. 

2 Helios, the Sun-god, father of jEetes and Circe, took up Hephaestus, 
who owing to his lameness was tired, and carried him in his chariot 
away from the plain of Phlegra in Thrace, where the giants had done 
battle with the gods. A * 

? Also called Phaethon. :t 

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But the servants and the two daughters of JSetes, Chal- 
ciope 1 and Medea, had the other rooms. Now they found 
jyfedea going from chamber to chamber in quest of her 
sister ; for Hera had kept her at home, though aforetime 
she came not very often into the house, but all day long 
was busied at the temple of Hecate, for 'twas she that 
was priestess of the goddess. And when she saw them 
near, she cried out, and quickly did Chalciope hear, and 
the maid-servants threw down at their feet their yarn and 
thread, and came running out all together. But Chalciope, 
when she saw her sons with those others, lifted up her ' 
hands for joy, and so too did they greet their mother, and 
embraced her for joy when they saw her. And thus spake 
she through her sobs : " So then, after all, ye were not to 
wander very far, leaving me in my anguish 2 ; but fate 
hath turned you back. Ah ! woe is me ! what a desire for 
Hellas did ye feel, prompted by some pitiful infatuation, 
at the bidding of your father Phrixus ! who dying did 
ordain bitter sorrow for my heart. Why should ye go to 
the city of Orchomenus, whoever this Orchomenus is, 3 for 
the sake of the goods of Athamas, leaving your mother 
behind in her sorrow ? " 

So spake she ; and last of all came iEetes forth to the 
door, and forth came Eidyia in person, wife of JEetes, when 
she heard Chalciope ; and anon that whole courtyard was 
filled with a throng. Thralls in crowds were busy now, 

1 Elder daughter of JEetea, sister of Medea ; she had teen married to 
Phrixus, now dead, and had several sons, who were now in the company 
of Jason. 

a cLKridtty here, as infra, iii. 298, cuctidtiym vooto, is capable of two 
meanings, (1) = dtyovritrnog, u carelessly, without a thought," (2) = 
Tco\vicri$daiQ, " in anguish." In the first case it would refer to the sons 
of Chalciope ; in the second, which is rather favoured by the position of 
the words, to Chalciope herself. 

3 " Whoever this Orchomenus is." In her bitterness she purposely 
assumes that Orchomenus is a man, not a city. 

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l. 247-299.] 



some about a mighty bull, while others were cleaving dry 
wood with the axe, and others were heating at the fire 
water for baths, and there was none who ceased from toil, 
in obedience to the king. / 

Meantime Eros went through the clear air unseen, con- 
fusing them, as when the gad-fly ariseth against grazing 
heifers, the fly which herdsmen call the goad of cattle. 
Quickly within the porch, beneath the lintel, he stretched 
his bow and drew from his quiver a shaft of sorrow never 
yet used. Then did he pass unseen across the threshold 
with hasty steps, glancing quickly round, and gliding close 
past the son of iEson himself, he laid the notch of the 
I arrow on the middle of the bow-string, and drawing 1 it to 
I the head with both hands he let it fly straight against 
J Medea ; and speechless amaze took hold upon her. But 
he sped away again from the high-roofed hall, laughing 
loudly. And the shaft burnt beneath the maiden's heart, 
like a flame, and ever she kept darting glances toward the 
son of ^son, and her heart was wildly beating in her 
breast in distress, and she remembered nought but him, 
and her soul was melting with sweet sorrow. As when 
some poor workwoman hath strewn dry chips about a 
blazing brand — one whose business is to spin wool — that 
she may make a blaze at night beneath her roof, waking 
exceeding early ; which darting up wondrously from the 
tiny brand doth consume all the chips with itself ; even so 
love in his might, 2 couched beneath her heart, was burning 
secretly ; and her soft cheeks would pale and blush by 
turns, in the anguish of her soul. 

Now when the thralls had made ready food for them, 

1 i.e. drawing it to the full, when the arms would be wide apart. 

2 ovkoQs by some said to be a variant form in poets of o\oc, = Lat. 
totus, i.e. " the god in all his might," which meaning it certainly bears 
in some contexts. Others make it = oKooq, as ov\6fiivog t Epic for 
AXofitvog, i.e. " destructive, baleful." 

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and they had washed themselves in warm baths, gladly 
did they take their fill of food and drink. Then did 
Metes question the sons of his daughter, addressing them 
with these words : " Sons of my daughter and of Phrixus, 
whom I honoured above all strangers in our halls, how 
came ye back again to jEa ? did some misfortune come be- 
twixt you and your safety, preventing you ? Ye hearkened 
not to me when I set before you the measure of the voyage. 
For I knew it that day I whirled along in the car of Helios, 
my father, when he was bringing my sister Circe into the 
land of the west, 1 and we came to a headland of the Tyr- 
senian mainland, where she dwelleth even now, very far 
from the Colchian land. What pleasure, though, have I in 
telling hereof ? Come tell me plainly what befell you, or 
who these are who bear you company, and whence ye have 
come from your hollow ship." 

Somewhat afeard was Argus for the expedition of the 
son of Mson when he questioned so straitly, but he 
before his brethren made a gentle answer, for he was the 
eldest : " Metes, that ship of ours did raging winds soon 
wreck; but the wave cast us up, as we crouched on 
timbers, on the dry land of the isle of Enyalius, in the 
dead of night, for some god saved us. For not even were 
the birds of Ares roosting on that desert isle, which were 
there aforetime, nor did we find them any more. But 
these men had driven them away, when they came forth 
from their ship on the previous day, and the mind of 
Zeus or some chance kept them there, in pity for us ; for 
at once they gave us food and raiment in plenty, after 
hearing the famous name of Phrixus and of thee thyself, 
for to thy city were they faring. If thou wouldst surely 
know their business, I will not hide it from thee. A 
certain king, eager to drive yonder man far from his 

1 i.e. Italy. 

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country and his goods, for that he excelled very greatly in 
his might all the sons of JUolus, is sending him hither on 
a difficult voyage; for it is ordained that the race of 
JColus shall not escape the grievous wrath and fury of 
implacable Zeus, nor the awful pollution and the punish- 
ment for the sake of Phrixus, until the fleece come to Hellas. 
And Paiias Athene hath builded his ship, in no wise like the 
ships amongst the Colchian folk, whereof we chanced 
upon the vilest ; 1 for furious winds and waves tore it in 
pieces enow. -But that other holds fast unto her bolts, even 
though all the winds fall heavy on her. And swift as the 
wind she speeds, whenso her crew bend to their oars with 
a will. And Jason hath gathered together in her the 
chosen heroes from all Achrea, and is come to thy city, 
after wandering to many towns, and over the face of the 
loathly sea, to see if thou wilt give him the fleece. And as 
it is pleasing to thee, so shall it be ; for he is not come to 
use violence, but 'tis his desire to pay thee fair quittance 
for the gift ; for he heareth from me that the Sauromatae 
are thy grievous foes ; so he will subdue these to thy rule. 
And if, as thou sayest, thou art anxious to know too their 
name and lineage, who they be, verily let me tell thee all. 
Him, for sake of whom the rest mustered from Hellas, men 
call Jason, son of jEson, whom Cretheus begat. Now if he 
is really of the stock of Cretheus himself, so must he be a 
, kinsman on his father's side to us. For both Cretheus 
I and Athamas were sons of ^Eolus ; and Phrixus again was 
son of Athamas, who was son of JEolus. Lo ! here dost 
thou see Augeas, if ever thou dost hear of this son of 
Helios, and this is Telamon, sprung from famous iEacus, 
whom Zeus himself begat. So too all the rest, who follow 
in his cre^ , are sons or scions of immortal gods." - -> 

This was the tale that Argus told. And the king was j 

1 JEetes had given the sons of Chalciope a bad ship in the hope of 
their being wrecked. 

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angered at his word, as he listened. And his heart swelled 
high with rage, and he spake with a troubled mind£ but 
j most of all was he wroth with the sons of Chalciope, 1 
[for he thought that Jason had come on this quest by 
j reason of them), and his eyes flashed beneath his brows 
1 in his fury : " Away, ye caitiff wretches, at once from my 
sight ; depart from my land with your trickery, ere some 
J of you see the fleece and Phrixus to your sorrow. 'Twas 
not to fetch the fleece, but to take my sceptre and my 
kingly power, that ye banded together and came hither at 
once from Hellas. But if ye had not tasted first of my 
board, of a truth I would have cut out your tongues and 
chopped off both your hands and sent you forth with feet 
alone, that ye might be stayed from setting forth there- 
after ; what lies too have ye told about the blessed gods ! " 

So spake he in his fury ; and mightily was the heart of 
the son of iEacus swelling in his breast ; and his spirit 
within him longed to give him back a fatal answer, 1 but the 
son of JiJson checked him ; and, before he could speak, 
himself made gentle answer : " iEetes, bear with me anent 
this my coming. For we are in no wise come unto thy 
town and home, as thou belike dost think, nor with any 
such desire. For who would willingly venture to cross so 
1 wide a gulf for the goods of another ? Nay, 'twas a god 
and the chilling hest of a presumptuous king that sent us 
forth. Grant thy favour to our prayer ; and I will carry 
throughout Hellas a wondrous report of thee ; yea, and we 
are ready even now to make thee quick recompense in thy 
wars, if haply thou desirest to bring beneath thy sway even 
the Sauromatse or some other folk." 

So spake he, trying to win him with gentle speech. But 
that other's heart was pondering a double design, either to 
set upon them and slay them out of hand, or, strong king as 

1 6\obv Ittoq, i.e. an answer that would have had deadly consequences 
to someone. 

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It. 368-430.] THE ARGONATJTICA. 



he was, to make trial of their might. And as he thought 
thereon, this seemed the better plan ; and so he caught 
him up and said,(^ Stranger, why shouldst thou tell me all 
to the end ? For if ye are really of the race of gods, or 
have set foot upon a foreign shore no ways my inferiors, 
I will give thee the golden fleece to carry hence, if so thou 
wilt, after trying thee. For in the case of good men I grudge 
it noways, as yourselves declare he doth who is king in Hellas. 
But to test your spirit and strength there shall be a task, 
which I myself can compass with my hands, hard though 
f ft be. Two bulls with brazen hoofs, breathing flame from 
' heir mouths, do browse upon yon plain of Ares ; these do 
t yoke and drive over the rough fallow of Ares of four 
plough-gates, and when I have speedily turned it up with 
e plough to the end I sow for seed in the furrows, not 
e corn of Demeter, but the teeth of a dread serpent, 
hich grow into the form 1 of armed men. These do I next 
tterly destroy with my spear as they stand round to meet 
le. At early dawn I yoke my oxen, and at eventide I 
ase from my harvesting. 

" Now, if thou wilt accomplish the like, thou shalt bear 
way to the king's palace the fleece upon the self -same 
ay. Ere that I will not give it thee ; so hope not so. 
or it were shameful indeed for a good man born to yield 
to a worse." 

So spake he ; but Jason fixed his eyes in front of him 
d sat speechless, as he was, at a sore loss. Long time 
rued he the plan over, and no way could he find to 
ccept the challenge courageously, for the task seemed a 
eat one ; but at last he made answer with crafty words : 
* Metes, very straitly dost thou shut me up within thy 
ght. Wherefore I will even endure that toil, passing 
rd though it be ; yea, though it be my lot to die. For 
ere is nothing worse that cometh on men than dire neces- 

1 difjtag used adverbially = '* in form, appearance." 



sity, and 'twas it that forced me to come hither at the 

v king's command." 

So spake he, smitten with dismay ; and the other answered 

him in his distress with grim words : " Come now unto 

the gathering, 1 since thou art even eager for the toil ; but if 

thou art afraid to put the yoke upon the oxen's neck, or 

if haply thou shrink from the deadly harvesting, these 

things severally shall be my care, that so any other may 

fear to come to a man that is better than he." 2 

So spake he bluntly ; but the other, even Jason, leapt ' 

up from his seat, and Augeas and Telamon by his side, but 

only Argus 3 went with him, for he signed to his brothers , 

whilst they were yet there, that they should stay behind " ee ^ 

But they went forth from the hall. And the son of iEsoi 

shorn ■ out wondrously amongst them all for beauty an< * ' 

grace, and the maiden cast shy glances at him, holding he:l 

bright veil aside, consuming her heart with woe ; and hei lllt 

thoughts stole after him like a dream, 4 and flitted in Ins" / 

footsteps as he went. So they went forth from the house 

sore at heart. And Chalciope, avoiding the wrath o)^ nt 

iEetes, had gone swiftly to her chamber with her sons ^ 

j** And in like manner came Medea after her ; and much slit ' 

/brooded in her heart, even all the cares that love doth™ 


1 fitO' o/itXov, a to the place of gathering," /x«ra = irpoq. This usaf , ^ g 
is very common in Apollonius. The phrase might also mean "c^ 1 !,. 
after the crowd," but that suits the context less well, for the crov 
would naturally follow rather than precede men who were about t^ e 
hazard so dangerous an enterprise. 3y 

2 i.e. a dark threat of punishment for Jason's presumption in pre-en 
ferring such a request, = " I will take good care that for the future a<J 
venturers like you think twice before they come with such impuden* ^ 
proposals to me." 

3 oIoq "Apyog, i.e. Argus signed to his brothers to stay behind au< w 
make what way they could with their mother Chalciope. , as 

* voog tivt' ovupog, a curiously bold expression, identifying the minttg 
of the dreamer with the vision dreamt. We should have to say " as i 
a dream." 

li. 431-479.] THE ARGON AUTICA. 115 ^ 

urge. For before her eyes everything yet seemed to be, 
lier lover's very form, the raiment that he wore, the words 
lie said, the way he sat upon his seat, and how he went 


unto the door ; and, as she thought thereon, she dreamed 
there never was such another man ; and ever in her ears 
liis voice was ringing and the sweet words he spake. And 
she feared for him, that the oxen or haply iEetes with his 
own hands might slay him ; and she mourned for him 
as though he were already slain outright, and the tears ran 
►f tly down her cheeks in her affliction from her exceeding 
^ty ; and, softly weeping, she uttered her voice aloud : — 
t£»Why doth this sorrow come o'er me to my grief? 
V /"hether he be the best or worst of heroes that is now to 
f - -ttrish, let him die. Ah 1 would that he might escape 
t; « jihurt. Yea, let that even come to pass, O dread goddess, 
ti tJiughter of Perses 1 ; let him escape death and return 
?( l»me. But if 'tis fated that he be slain by the oxen, let 
xi s^m learn ere his doom, that I at least exult not in his 
Wfate." ..J 
[Even thus was that maiden weighed down with care. 
>w when those others had gone outside the crowd and 
city along the path, which aforetime they had taken 
>m the plain ; in that hour did Argus speak to Jason 
|th these words, /"Son of -flSson, thou wilt scorn the 
aMinsel I shall tell thee 2 ; and yet it is not right at all to 
ugjust from any attempt in trouble. Haply thou too hast 
[newhat heard before that one of my sisters useth sorcery 
the prompting of Hecate, daughter of Perses ; if we can 
jrsuade her, no longer, methinks, shall there be any fear 

TTeptrij/, another name of Hecate, the goddess to whom Medea as a 
(rceress naturally prays ; she was so called as being a daughter of 
?rses, or Persaeus, though other legends declare her to have sprung 
torn Zeus. 

i.e. you may not think much of my counsel in this particular case, 
al^t I give it all the same, for one ought to neglect no precaution in 
icult circumstances. 


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that thou be foiled in thy emprise ; but terribly I fear, 1 that 
my mother will not undertake this for me. Yet will I go to 
her again to entreat her ; for o'er the heads of all of us 
hangeth joint destruction." 

So spake he in kindliness, and the other thus made 
answer : " Good friend, if now this finds favour in thine 
own eyes, I have nought against it. Speed thee then and 
hasten to implore thy mother with words of wisdom. Yej 
wretched jndeed ^is_ our--hope^ when we -have entrusted-our- 
return to women." / 
So spake he ; and quickly they came unto the backwate r. 
And their comrades questioned them with joy when th( y 
saw them drawing near. But sorrowfully did the son i ,f 
Mson tell out his tale to them, " Friends, the heart ' )f 
cruel Metes is angered at us outright. For never will tMie 
goal be reached by me, nor yet hj you who question lAe 
on every point. Now he saith there are two bulls, wilfli 
hoofs of bronze, that range the plain of Ares, breathiJig 
flame from their mouths. And he hath bidden me plough 
with these a fallow-field of four plough-gates ; then, A 
says he will give me seed of the jaws of a serpent, whis,ch 
maketh earth-born men to rise in their bronze harness, 
and on that very day must I slay them. Which thing b I 
did promise him outright, for no better plan could J I 

So spake he, and it seemed to them all a toil not 
accomplished ; long time looked they on one another WSa 
speechless silence, bowed down with anguish and dismay / 
but at the last spake Peleus bravely amongst all the chief- 
tains : " 'Tis time to devise what we are to do. I deei 
there is not so much help in counsel as in strong arm^ *. 
If then, hero son of Mson, thou art minded thyself to yol 

1 foi'tfw prj 6v = Lat. vereor ne non = vereor iA. roye, the seryice i-Jn 
question, i.e. the enlistment of the sympathies of Medea for the entejijr- 
prise by Chalciope. 



Ii. 480-537.] THE AEGONAUTICA. 117 

the oxen of JEetes, and art eager for the labour, lo ! keep 
now thy promise and make thee ready ; but if thy spirit 
hath no sure trust in thy valiancy, hasten not thyself, 
nor sitting here look round for some other amongst these 
men. For I myself will not hold back, for the worst grief ^ 
that can come will be but death." 

So spake the son of JEacus ; and the spirit of Telamon 
was stirred ; and he sprang up in hot haste, and with him 
uprose Idas in his pride, and the two sons of Tyndarus as 
well ; and with them the son of (Eneus, ranked among 
men of prowess, 1 albeit the soft down scarce showed upon 
his face ; so high rose the courage of his heart. But those 
others gave way and kept silence. And anon spake Argus 
this word to them in their eagerness for the enterprise, 
" My friends, lo ! this is left us at the last^ But, methinks, 
there shall come to us from my mother a very present 
help. Wherefore, for all your eagerness, restrain your- 
selves a little space in the ship, as heretofore ; for 'tis 
better to hold back withal than recklessly to choose an 
i evil doom. There dwells a maid in JEetes' halls, whom' 
Hecate hath taught exceeding skill in all simples, that the 
land and flowing water do produce. By them is quenched 
even the blast of tireless flame ; and in a moment she stays 
the rush of roaring streams, and she can bind the stars 
and the courses of the holy moon. Of her we bethought 
us as we came hither along the path from the house, if 
haply our mother, own sister to her, can persuade her to 
aid our labour. Now if this finds favour in your sight too, 

1 aigqoc literally = " a vigorous, lusty man,*' then any man who has 
come to his full strength, in which latter sense it is often employed by 
Homer, though probably the idea of 11 manliness " ought in every case 
to be kept prominent. 

3 " This is left us at the last," i.e. if we can find no better way, we 
will do and die in the attempt if necessary ; but, ere that, let us employ 
all the means that offer, and despise no plan of escape, even if it do pro- 
ceed from a woman. 

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verily I will go this very day back to the house of iEetes 
to make essay ; and perhaps some god will be with me in 
my attempt." 

So spake he ; and the gods of their good will gave unto 
them a sign. A trembling dove, flying from a strong 
hawk, came down and settled in her terror in the bosom of <; 
the son of ^Eson ; but the hawk transfixed(5 himself upon 
the pointed stern. At once Mopsus took up his parable 
and spake this word amongst them all, " My friends, here 
is a sign for you by the will of the gods ; no otherwise could 
they more clearly bid us go speak with the maiden and 
seek to her with all our skill. And methinks she will not 
slight us, if, that is, PJiineus said tru ly, that our r pflirT1 
shou ld depend on t he Cypri an godde ss. Yon gentle bird 
just ' scaped her fate ; and even as my heart within me 
foresees according to this omen, so shall it surely be. But 
come, friends, call on Cytherea to help you, and in this 
very hour hearken to the persuasion of Argus." 

So spake he ; and the young men approved his words, C 
for they remembered the bidding of Phineus ; only Idas, 
son of Aphareus, sprang up ; sore troubled was he, and he 
cried aloud, " How now, pray, did we come hither in com- 
pany with women, that our men call on Cypris to come and 
help us, and no longer on the great War- god ? Will ye, for 
the sight of doves and hawks, stay you from your enter- 
prise ? get you gone, and take no thought for deeds of war, 
| but how to cajole weak girls by prayers." 

So cried he in his hot anger ; and many of his comrades 
muttered low, but there was none, I trow, that gave him 
answer back. So down he sat much in wrath ; but Jason 
forthwith cheered them, and declared his mind thus, " Let 
Argus go forth from the ship, since this finds favour with 

1 TttpiKainciotVy literally " fell about it," i.e. fell on it and was pierced 
by it. Cf. Soph. Aias, iriptirrvxhQ Qaayavy, literally " folded about his 
sword," i.e. fallen upon it and pierced by it. 

l. 538-592.] 



all, while we will now fasten our cables openly ashore out 
from the river. For assuredly 'tis well to lie hid no longer, 
crouching in fear from the battle-cry." 

Therewith, sent he Argus forth at once to go swiftly a 
second time unto the city ; but they hauled their anchors 
aboard at the bidding of the son of J3son, and rowed the 
ship a little space from out the backwater, and moored her 
to the shore. 

Anon Metes held a gathering of the Colchians apart 
from his house, where they sat aforetime, devising against 
the Minyae treachery intolerable and troubles. For he 
threatened®that, so soon as the oxen should have torn that 
fellow in pieces, who had taken upon him the performance 
of the grievous labour, he would then cut down an oak- 
thicket upon the wooded hill-top and burn their ship, 
men and all, that, they, with their over-weening schemes, 
may splutter out - their grievous insolence. For he would 
never have received Phrixus, son of ^Solus, as a guest within 
his halls, for all his craving, — Phrixus who exceeded all 
strangers in gentleness and holiness, — had not Zeus sent to 
him his own messenger Hermes, that so Phrixus might 
meet with a kindly host. Verily were pirates to come to 
his land, they would not long be without sorrows of their 
own, folk who make it their business to stretch out their 
hand upon the goods of strangers, and to weave secret 

1 (TTtvru, " he threatened." From the sense of boasting that one is 
so and so, or will do so and so, the transition to that of threatening is 
not difficult. We find the word in three different significations : cf. ii. 
1204, « he avows himself to be ; " iii. 337, " is it destined ; " iii. 579, " he 

a airotpXvZwfftv, a grim jest on the part of JEetes. The word means 
<« to boil up, splutter ;" then " to babble idly," used by the king in scorn 
of the word* Jason had spoken, and also with an allusion to the effect 
the fire would have on the heroes—" fire makes water boil away, per- 
haps it may make these babblers splutter out all their presumption." 
Cf. <p\vapta = " nonsense." 




plots, and to harry the steadings of herdsmen in forays, 
heralded by their dreaded shout. Moreover he said that 
the sons of Phrixus, apart from this, should pay him a 
proper penaltjjf or returning in the company of evil-doers 
as their guides, that they might drive him from his honour 
and his kingdom heedlessly ; for once on a time he had 
heard a dismal warning from his father Helios, that he 
must avoid the deep guile and plotting and the wily mis- 
chief of his own race. Wherefore he sent them, according 
to their father's bidding, eager as they were, to the land of 
Achsea, a long journey. But small fear had he of his 
daughters, or of his son Absyrtus, that they would ever 
devise any baleful plan ; but he thought these fell deeds 
were to be accomplished among the race of Chalciope ; and 
so it was that terrible things did he pronouncefeSn his wrath 
against those other folk ; and he made a mighty threat 
that he would keep them from the ship and their comrades, 
that none might escape destruction. 

Meantime Argus came unto the house of JEetes, and 
strove to win his mother with every argument he knew, 
that she might entreat Medea's aid ; but she pondered the 
matter first herself. For fear held her back, lest haply he 
should win her over in vain, and contrary to fate ; so fear- 
ful was she of her father's deadly anger, or lest, if she con- 
sented to his prayer, her deed might get abroad and be 
j clearly known. 

Now deep sleep relieved the maid Medea from her trou- 
bles, as she lay upon her bed. But anon fearsome cheating 

1 /zeiXta = anything that pleases ; then a marriage portion ; here equiva- 
lent to iroivai, which, however, viewed from Petes' point of view, would 
be distinctly pleasing. The word is used above, iii. 136, for <; a toy, 

a iruf>av<TKiroy " he declared " that he would bring to pass. dij/iorL 
poiaiv literally = "common, vulgar." It is not quite clear who is 
meant; possibly the rest of the heroes, as distinct from the sons of 
Phrixus and Chalciope, who were to receive special punishment. 

Digitized b} Go 

L. 593-650.] THE ARGONAUTICA. 


dreams assailed her, as they will a maiden in her woe. 
She thought yon stranger had taken that toil upon him, 
not because he greatly desired to carry off the ram's fleece, 
nor at all, for its sake, had he come to the city of iEetes, 
but that he might lead her to his home to be his own true 
wife ; and she dreamed that she herself strove with the 
oxen, and did the toil right easily ; but her parents made 
light of their promise ; for they had set the yoking of the 
oxen, not before their daughter, but before the stranger. 
Then arose a strife of doubtful issue betwixt her father and 
the strangers ; and both did entrust it unto her to be even 
as she should direct. At once she chose that stranger, and 
forgat her parents, and grievous was their anguish, and 
they cried out in anger ; then did sleep forsake her, and 
she awoke with a cry. And she arose quivering with terror, 
and peered all round the walls of her chamber, and scarce 
could she regain her courage as before in her breast, and 
she uttered her voice aloud, " Ah ! woe is me ! how have 
fearful dreams affrighted me ! I fear that this voyage of 
the heroes is bringing some awful calamity. My heart is 
in suspense^ for the stranger. Let him woo some Achaean 
maiden, far away among his own people, and let my virgin 
state and my parents' home be my care. Verily, though I 
have cast shame out of my heart, I will not yet make any 
attempt without the advice of my sister, if haply she en- 
treat me to help their enterprise, in sorrow for her sons ; 
that would assuage the bitter grief in my heart." 

Therewith she rose and opened the door of her chamber, 
barefoot, in her shift alone ; and lo ! she longed to go to 
her sister, and she passed over the threshold of her room. 
And long time she waited there at the entrance of her 
chamber, held back by shame, and she turned her back 
once more ; and yet again she went from her room, and 

1 ijipiBovrat, a lengthened form of aupofxai, = " to hang floating in 
the air." Hence metaph. " to waver." 

» Digitized by Google 


again stole back ; for her feet bore her in vain this way 
and that ; yea, and oft as she was going straight on, 
modesty kept her within ; then would bold desire urge 
her against the curb of modesty. Thrice she tried, and 
thrice she held back ; the fourth time she turned and threw 
herself face down upon the bed. As when a bride doth 
mourn within her chamber a strong young husband, to 
whom her brethren and parents have given her, and she 
holds no converse with all her attendants for very shame 
and thinking of him ; but sitteth in a corner lamenting, 
but him hath some doom destroyed, ere they twain have 
had any joy each of the other's counsels ; while she, with 
burning heart, looks on her widowed bed and sheds the 
silent tear, that the women may not mock and scoff at 
her ; like to her was Medea in her lamentation. Now on 
a sudden, while she wept, a maid-servant coming forth 
did hear her, one that had waited on her in her girlhood ; 
and forthwith she told Chalciope ; now she was sitting 
amongst her sons, devising how to win her sister to their 
side. Yet not even so did she make light of it, when she 
heard the maid's strange story, but she hasted in amaze 
from room to room throughout the house to the chamber 
wherein the maiden lay in her anguish, and tore her 
cheeks ; and when she saw her eyes all dimmed with tears, 
she said to her, " Ah, woe is me ! Medea, and wherefore 
dost thou shed these tears ? What has happened to thee ? 
what awful grief hath come into thy heart? Has some 
disease of heaven's sending fastened on thy limbs, or hast 
thou learnt some deadly threat of my father concerning 
me and my sons? Would that I no longer beheld this 
house of my parents, nor their city, but dwelt in the utter- 
most parts of the earth, where is not so much as heard the 
name of Colchians." 

So spake she, but a blush rose to her sister's cheeks, and 
long time maiden modesty stayed her from answering, fain 

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as she was. At one moment the word would rise to the 
tip of her tongue, at another it would speed back deep 
within her breast. Oft her eager lips yearned to tell their 
tale, but the words came no farther. At the last she 
made this subtle speech, for love's bold hand was heavy on 
her, u Chalciope, my heart is in sore suspense for thy sons, 
for fear lest our father slay them outright with the 
strangers. For as I fell asleep just now and slumbered 
for a little space, I saw a fearful vision. May some god 
make it of none effect, and mayest thou get no bitter grief 
for thy sons !" 

So spake she, making trial of her sister ; and the other 
thus answered: "Lo! I came to thee myself bent upon 
this business entirely, to see if thou couldst help me with 
counsel and devise some aid. Come, swear by heaven and 
earth that thou wilt keep in thy heart what I shall say to 
thee, and will help me in the work. I pray thee by the 
blessed gods, by thyself, and by our parents, do not see 
them piteously destroyed by some evil fate ; or else will I 
die with my dear sons and be to thee hereafter a fearful 
spirit of vengeance from Hades." 

So spake she, and forthwith her tears gushed forth in 
streams, and she clasped her hands below her knees, and 
let her head sink on her bosom. Then did the two sisters 
make piteous lament over each other, and there arose 
through the house a faint? sound of women weeping in their 

But Medea first addressed the other, sore distressed: 
" God help us, sister ! what cure can I work for thee ? 
what a word is thine, with thy dread curses and spirits of 
vengeance ! Would that it were surely in my power to save 
thy sons ! Witness now that awful oath of the Colchians, 

1 \tirra\k tj foi), properly " fine, delicate." In this connexion it would 
seem to mean " subdued," so that their grief might not be noticed and 
cause suspicion. 



which thyself wouldst liave me swear ; great heaven and 
earth beneath, mother of gods ! as far as in me lies I will 
not fail thee, so thou ask aught I can perform." 

So spake she, and Chalciope thus made answer : " Canst 
thou then devise no trick, no help for the enterprise of the 
stranger, even if his own lips ask it, for the sake of my 
children ? lo ! Argus is come from him, urging me to try 
and gain thy help ; him did I leave within the house the 
while I came hither." 

So she ; and the other's heart within her leapt for joy, 
and a deep blush withal mantled o'er her fair skin, and a 
mist came o'er her eyes as her heart melted, and thus she 
answered : " Chalciope, I will do even as is dear and pleas- 
ing to you. May the dawn shine no more upon mine eyes ; 
mayst thou no longer see me in the land of the living, if I 
hold aught before thy soul, or before thy sons, who verily 
are my cousins, my kinsmen dear, and of mine own age. 
Even so I do declare I am thy sister and thy daughter too, 
for thou didst hold me to thy breast while yet a babe, 
equally with those thy sons, as ever I heard in days gone 
by from my mother. But go now, hide my service in silence 
that I may make good my promise without the knowledge 
of my parents, and at dawn will I carry to the temple of 
I Hecate drugs to charm the bulls." 

So Chalciope went back again from the chamber ; while 
she set to devising some help for her sister's sons. But 
once more did shame and an horrible dread seize her when 
she was alone, to think that she was devising such things 
for a man, without her father's knowledge. 

Then did night spread darkness o'er the earth, and they 
who were at sea, the mariners, looked forth from their 
ships toward the Bear and the stars of Orion ; and now did 
every wayfarer and gatekeeper long for sleep ; and o'er 
every mother, weeping for children dead, fell the pall of 
deep slumber ; no more did dogs howl through tLe town ; 

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715-781.] THE ARGONAUTICA. 125 

no more was heard the noise of men, but silence wrapped 
the darkling gloom. Yet not at all did sleep shed its sweet- 
ness o'er Medea ; for in her love for the son of ^Eson many 
a care kept her awake, terrified at the mighty strength of 
the bulls, before whom he was to die a shameful death on 
Ares' acre. And her heart was wildly stirred within her 
breast; as when a sun-beam reflected from water plays 
upon the wall of a house, water just poured into a basin 
or a pail maybe ; hither and thither it darts and dances on 
the quick eddy ; even so the maiden's heart was fluttering 
in her breast, and tears of pity flowed from her eyes ; and, 
ever within, the pain was wasting her, smouldering through 
her body, and about her weakened nerves, and right be- 
neath the back of her head jD where the keenest pain doth 
enter in, when the tireless love-god lets loose 2 his tortured 
Ion the heart. At one time she thought she would give 
I him drugs to charm the bulls, at another she thought nay. 
\but that she would die herself ; anon she would not di 
herself, nor would she give him the drugs, but quietly ev<r 
so would endure her sorrow. So she sat halting betw( a 
two opinions, then spake, " Ah, woe is me ! am I noTon 
toss hither and thither in woe ? my mind is wholly/afrv 
loss ; there is no help for my suffering, but it burnetii ever 
thus. Oh ! would that I had died by the swift arrows of 
Artemis, or ever I had seen him, or ever the song or Chal- 
ciope started for the Achaean land; some god or some 
spirit of vengeance hath brought them hither from thence 
* to cause us tears and woe enow. Well, let him perish in 
his attempt, if 'tis his lot to die upon the fallow. For how 
can I contrive the drugs, and my parents know it not ? 
what tale am I to tell about them ? What cunning, what 
crafty scheme shall there be for their aid ? Shall I greet 
him, kindly if I see him alone apart from his comrades? 

1 iVf'ov strictly is " the nape of the Deck.'' 

2 4yia«r//*^waiv, literally " to dash in or upon " (trans.). 

Digitized by Google 




Unhappy maid am I ; methinks I would not be quit of sor- 
row even though he were dead and gone. For sorrow will 
come upon me in the hour that he is bereft of life. Away 
with shame, perish beauty ! he shall be saved, unhurt, and 
by my help ; then let him go whithersoever his heart listeth. 
But may I die the self-same day that he fulfilleth his 
enterprise, either hanging by my neck from the roof-tree, 
or tasting of drugs that rive body and soul asunder. But, 
if I die thus, every eye will wink 1 and mock at me, and 
every city far away will ring with the tale of my death 
and the Colchian women will make a byword of me for 
their unseemly gibes ; the maid who cared so dearly for a 
stranger that she died for him, who shamed her home 
and parents by yielding to her mad passion. What dis- 
4 grace is there that will not be mine? Ah me! for my 
^ infatuation! Far better will it be this very night to leave 
fo life behind in my chamber by an unseen fate, avoiding 
e( l L ,U ill reproaches, or ever I complete this infamous dis- 
hy* -ace!" 

that -Therewith she went to fetch a casket, wherein were laid 
of mv iy drugs for her use, some healing, others very deadly. 
j^Sji^^she laid it on her lap, and wept. ^ Ajid her bosom was 
wet \ith her ceaseless weeping, fom he tears flowed in 
streanis as she sat there, making \ ti ous lament for her 
V fate.> Then she hasted to choose a deadly drug, that she 
81 f might taste thereof. And lo ! she was just loosing the 
fo fastenings of the casket, eager to draw them forth, poor 
i unhappy lady, when in an instant passed across her mind 
w j an awful horror of loathly Hades; and long time she 
8 stayed her hand in speechless fear, and life with all its 
f cares seemed sweet to her. For she thought of all the 
joyous things there are amongst the living, and of her 
happy band of companions, as a maiden will ; and the sun 

1 imWtZuvfft = " to wink with the eye " in mockery. Cf. supra, L 
where it is used of the unsteady gaze of a drunken man. 

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L. 782-844.] THE ARGONATJTICA. 127 

grew sweeter to her than before to look upon, just to see 1 
in. \f really in her heart of hearts she longed for each of them. 

Jo she laid the casket down again from off her knees, changing 
sor * *er mind by the prompting of Hera, and no more did her 
^ purpose waver otherwhither ; but she longed for the dawn 
va y to rise and come at once, that she might give Jason her 
m ^ tnagic drugs as she had covenanted,^and meet him face to 
^* tace. And oft would she loose the bolts of her door, as 
^ s ihe watched for the daylight ; and welcome to her was the 
^ light, when Dawn sent it forth, and each man went on his 
ut » way through the city. 

Q d Now Argus bade his brethren abide there yet, that they 
■ (might learn the mind and plans of the maiden, but himself 
Dr {went forth and came unto the ship again. 
a f But the maid Medea, soon as ever she saw the light of 
ie (dawn, caught up her golden tresses in her hands, which 
s * Ishe had let hang about her in careless disarray, and^wiped 
7 {clean her tear-stained cheeks ; and she cleansed her 
e |skin with ointment of heavenly fragrance, and put on a 
air robe, fastened with brooches deftly turned ; and upon 
her head, divinely fair, she cast a shining veil. Then she 
passed forth from her chamber there, treading the ground 
L Ifirmly, in forgetfulness of her sorrows, which were close 
■upon her in their countless legions, while others were yet 
o follow afterward. . And she bade her handmaids, who 
sed the night in entering in of her fragrant bower, 
twelve maids in j^of her own age who had not yet 
ound a mate, — quickly to yoke mules to the wain, to bear 
her to the lovely shrine of Hecate. Then did the maidens 
Wake ready the wain ; but she, the while, chose from the 
Hepth of her casket a drug, which men say is called the 

1 "Just to see," &c, i.e. to see if she did not really long for them in 
)ite of her belief that they were nothing to her any more. 

2 auvQeffiyai, " according to her covenant." Medea had promised her 
iter Chalciope that she would give J ason the necessary drugs. 

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drug of Prometheus. If a man should anoint his body 
therewith, after appeasing Persephone, that maiden only- 
begotten, with midnight sacrifice ; verily that man could 
not be wounded by the blows of bronze weapons, nor 
would he yield to blazing fire, but on that day 1 should his 
valiancy and might master theirs. This first had its birth, 
when the ravening eagle let drip to earth upon the wolds of 
Caucasus the bleeding life-stream 2 of hapless Prometheus. 
The flower thereof, as it were a cubit high, appeareth in 
colour like the saffron of Corycus, growing upon a double 
stalk, but its root within the ground resembleth flesh just 
cut. Now she had gathered for her drugs the dark juice 
thereof, like to the sap of a mountain oak, in a Caspian 
shell, after she had washed herself in seven eternal springs, 
and seven times had called on Brimoi 3 good nursing-mother, 
who roams by night, goddess of the nether world, and 
queen a>£ the dead, in the murk of night, in sable raiment 
clad. And, from beneath, the dark earth quaked and 
bellowed, as the Titan root 4 was cut, and the son of Iapetus 
too did groan, frantic with pain. That simple drew she 
forth and placed within her fragrant girdle, that was 
fastened about her fair waist. And forth to the door she 
came and mounted the swift car, and with her on either 
side went two handmaids ; so she took the reins and the 
shapely whip in her ri^ht hand, and drove through the 
town ; while those others, her hand: taids, holding to the 
body of the wain behind, *"an along; fee broad high-road, 
having kilted their fine rwbes up to their white knees. 
Fair as the daughter of Leto, 5 when she mounts her golden 
car, and drives her fleet fawns o'er the downs across the 

1 tcttv' vpap, i.e. that day only. 

* t'xwpa = the blood of a god. 3 Hecate. 

4 The root sprang from the blood of Prometheus, who was a Titan, 
that is, a primeval god. 

5 Artemis, the chaste huntress. 

Digitized Dy 

L. 845-909.] THE ABOONAUTICA. 129 

calm waters of Parthenius, or haply from her bath in 
Amnisus' stream, as she cometh from far to the rich 
steam of a hetacomb ; and with her come the nymphs, that 
bear her company, some gathering by the brink of the 
Amnisian spring, others about the groves and rocks with 
their countless rills ; and around her wild creatures fawn 
and whimper, trembling at her approach. Even so the 
maidens hasted through the city, and the people made 
way on either side, shunning the eye of the princess. Now 
when she had left the streets of the town, with their fair 
buildings, and had come in her driving across the plain 
unto the temple, then she lighted down quickly from the 
smooth-running wain and spake thus amongst her maidens : 
Friends, verily I have sinned an awful sin, for I find no 
cause to be wroth with yon strangers, who are roaming 
about our land. The whole city is smitten with dismay ; 
wherefore also none of the women hath come hither, who 
aforetime did gather here day by day. Yet since we are 
here, and none other comes forth against us, let us with 
soothing song and dance satisfy our souls without stint, 
and after we have plucked these fair blossoms of the tender 
field, then in that very hour will we return. Yea, and ye 
this day shall go unto your homes with many a rich gift, 
an ye will grant me this my desire ; for Argus is urgent 5 
witjj me, and so too is Chaloiope ; — keep what ye hear of 
me silent in your hearts, lest my words come to my father's 
ears ; — lo ! they bid me take yon stranger's gifts, who hath 
taken on him to strive with the oxen, and save him from 
his fell emprise. So I agreed unto their words, and I bade 
him meet me here alone, apart from his comrades, that we 
may divide amongst ourselves those gifts, if haply he bring 
them with him, and we may give him in return a drug 

1 irapaTpkvn, not in its usual sense of " turning a person away from a 
thing," but = irpoTpkmt, " urge on to.* 


Digitized by Google 





more balef ur * than lie knows. But do ye stand aloof from 
me against his coming." 

So spake she, and her cunning counsel pleased them all. 
Anon Argus drew the son of ^Ison apart from the crew, as 
soon as he heard from his brothers, that she had gone at 
daybreak to the holy temple of Hecate, and across the 
plain he led him ; and with them went Mopsus, son of 
Ampycus, skilled in interpreting omens from birds when 
they appeared, and skilled in giving the right advice when 
they were gone. 

Never was there such a man amongst the men of bygone 
days, neither among all the heroes who sprang from Zeus 
himself, nor among those who were of the blood of other 
immortal gods, as the wife of Zeus made Jason on that 
day, either to see face to face or to talk with. a Even his 
comrades marvelled, as they gazed at him resplendent with 
grace ; and the son of Ampycus was glad as they went, for 
already, I trow, he boded, how each thing would be. 

Now there is by the path along the plain, nigh to the 
temple, a black poplar with a crown of countless leaves, 
whereon, full oft, chattering crows would roost. And one 
of these, as she flapped her wings aloft on the branches, 
declared the will of Hera : " Here is a sorry seer, that hath 
not so much knowing as children have ; for no sweet word 
of love will the maid speak to yon youth, so long as there 
be other strangers with him. Begone, thou sorry prophet, 
dull-witted seer, for 'tis not thou, whom Cypris and her 
gentle Loves inspire, in their kindness." 

So spake the chiding crow, and Mopsus smiled to hear 
the bird's inspired utterance, and thus spake he : " Son of 
-53son, get thee now to the temple of the goddess, wherein 
thou wilt find the maiden ; very kindly shall her greeting 

1 More deadly than anyone else could give. 

a i.e. he was not only noble to look upon, but he had also a shrewd 




I*. 909-976.] THE ABOONAUTIOA. 131 

be to thee, thanks to Cypris, who will help thee in thy 
labours, even as Phineus, son of Agenor, did say before. 
But we twain, Argus and I, will stand in this very spot 
aloof, awaiting thy coming ; and do thou thyself alone 
bntreat her, turning her heart by words of wisdom/ ' 

So spake he very sagely ; and nigh at hand they both 
agreed to wait. Nor, I trow, had Medea any thought but 
this, for all her play ; for none of all the games she played 
would serve for her amusement long. But she kept 
changing them in confusion, nor could she keep her eyes 
at rest towards her group of maids, but earnestly she would 
gaze o'er the paths afar, turning her cheeks aside. Oft 
her heart sank broken within her breast, whenever she 
fancied a footfall or a breath of wind was hurrying by. 
But very soon came Jason in sight before her longing eyes, 
striding high o'er the plain, like Sirius when he rises from 
ocean, very fair and clear to see, but bringing woe unspeak- 
able to flocks ; so fair was the son of JEson to see as be- 
came nigh, but the sight of him brought hateful faintness 
upon her. Her heart sank within her breast, and her eyes 
grew dim withal, and o'er her cheeks rushed the hot blush ; 
and her knees had no strength to move backward or for- 
ward, but her feet were rooted to the ground under her. 
Now her handmaids, the while, had withdrawn from them, 
one and all ; so they twain stood facing one another without 
word or sound, like oaks or lofty pines, which stand rooted 
side by side in peace upon the mountains, when winds are 
still ; but lo ! there comes a breath of wind to rustle them, 
and sighs, that none can number, steal therefrom; even 
so those twain were soon to tell out all their tale before 
the breath of Love. But the son of iEson perceived that she 
was scared by some bewilderment from heaven, and with 
a kindly smile he thus hailed her, " Why, maiden, art thou 
so fearful of me when I come alone ? Verily I was never 
aforetime, not even when I dwelt in mine own country. 

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one of those braggart fellows. Wherefore fear not ex- J 
ceedingly, maiden, either to question me or say what is in 1 
thine heart. Nay, but since we are met together as friends 
in this most holy place, where to sin were wrong, speak I 
openly and tell me all ; and deceive me not with comfort- J 
able words, 1 for at first thou didst promise thine own sister 1 
to give me the drugs my heart desired. By Hecate herself, J 
by thy parents, and by Zeus, whose hand is over strangers 
and suppliants, I entreat thee. As stranger and as sup- 
pliant both, am I come hither to thee to implore thee in 
my sore need. For without thee never shall I achieve my 
dismal task. And I will make thee recompense hereafter 
for thy help, as is right, making thy name and fame 
glorious, as becometh those who dwell apart a ; yea, and in 
like manner shall the other heroes spread thy fame through 
Hellas on their return ; and so shall the heroes' wives and 
mothers, who now belike are sitting on the shore and 
mourning for us, whose grievous sufferings thou wilt 
scatter to the winds. In days gone by, Ariadne, 8 daughter 
of Minos, did, of her good heart, free Theseus from his evil 
task ; she it was whom Pasiphae, daughter of the Sun-god, 
bore. Tea, 4 and she went aboard his ship with him and left 

1 Smooth words which will not offend the ear, but yet will cause 
trouble in the end from their being found untrue. 

3 i.e. I will make every return which a man in a far country can to a 
benefactor, viz., speak well of you, and make others do the like. 

3 Ariadne, daughter of Minos, king of Crete, helped Theseus to slay 
the Minotaur and find his way out of a pathless maze ; so Theseus took 
her away on his ship to sail to Athens, but abandoned her cruelly in 
Naxos, where, however, the god Dionysus found her, and set her as a 
star in heaven. 

4 col, emphatic. Ariadne even went aboard the ship of Theseus at his 
request $ I only ask for your aid without any further sacrifice. 

ivvaat \6\ov. Either she fled because Minos had only lulled his 
anger for a time, and would make her suffer for her share in the success, 
of Theseus later on, or else the expression might mean that Minos 
having swallowed his vexation, allowed Ariadne to sail away with the* 




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I#. 977-1026.] THE ABQOITJLTJTICA. 133 

her country, since Minos did lull his rage ; and the im- 
mortal gods showed their love as well, for there in mid sky 
is her sign, a crown of stars, which men call Ariadne's 
crown, wheeling by night amid the heavenly constellations. 
Such thanks shalt thou too have from the gods, if thou 
wilt save this famous host of chieftains. For surely from 
thy form, methinks, thou shouldst excel in gentle acts of 

So spake he praising her ; and she cast down her eyes 
with a sweet smile, 1 and her heart within her melted, as 
he extolled her. And she looked straight into his eyes, 
and had no word to answer him withal at first, but longed 
to tell him all at once together. And forth from her 
fragrant girdle she drew the drug ungrudgingly, and he 
with joy took it in his hands at once. And now would 
she have drawn her whole soul forth from her breast and 
given it him at his desire eagerly ; so mightily did love 
light up his sweet torch from the son of jEson's yellow 
locks, and snatched bright glances from her eyes ; and her 
heart wasted and melted within her, as the dew upon roses 
melts and wastes away in the sun's beams at morn. But 
they would fix their eyes one time upon the ground in 
modesty, and then again would cast a glance at each 
other, with a smile of love in their glad eyes. At the last, 
and scarcely then, the maiden thus did greet him : 

" Take heed now, that I may devise some help for thee. 
When my father hath given thee, at thy coming for them, 

adventurer. This view is favoured, if not confirmed, by a remark of 
Jason's (infra, 1099), where he speaks of the aid lent by Minos to 
Theseus for the sake of his daughter. Homer styles him oXooftxjv, 
" the man of baleful thoughts." Also, it would tend to increase the con- 
fidence of Medea if she could be persuaded that her father would forgive 
her in the end, and let her marry her lover as Ariadne had married 
These us. 

1 " A smile divinely sweet." vurraptov is mostly used of sweet smells, 
then anything sweet that surpasses man's power. 



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the fell teeth from the snake's jaws to sow withal, then, 
watch for the hour when the night is evenly divided in 
twain, and after washing thyself in the stream of the tire- 
less river, dig a ronnd hole, alone apart from the others, in. 
sable garb ; there slay a ewe and sacrifice her whole, having 
heaped high the fire above the hole itself. And propitiate 
Hecate, daughter of Perses, the only -begotten, pouring liba- 
tions of honey from a chalice. Then when thou hast 
taken heed to appease the goddess, draw back again from 
the fire; and let no sound of feet or howling of dogs 
drive thee to turn round, lest haply thou cut all short and 
come not thyself back duly to thy companions. At dawn 
I soak this drug ; then strip and with it anoint thy body as 
it were with oil ; and there shall be in it boundless valiancy 
and great strength, and thou wilt think thyself a match 
for deathless gods, not for men. Moreover, let thy shield 
and sword and spear be sprinkled therewith. Then shall 
not the keen swords of the earth-born men cut thee, nor 
shall the flame of those deadly bulls dart forth resistlessly 
against thee. Yet shalt thou not be thus mighty for a 
long space, but for that day only ; yet never shrink thou 
from thy enterprise. And I will supply thee yet another 
pielp. So soon as thou hast yoked the strong oxen, and by 
jthy might and manhood hast quickly ploughed the hard 
'fallow, and they, the giants, at once spring up along the 
furrows when the teeth of the snake are sown over the 
: dark soil, if thou but watch them rising in crowds from 
j the lea, then cast secretly at them a heavy rock ; and they 
i will destroy one another upon it, like fierce dogs about 
their food ; but be not thyself eager for the fray. Hereby 
i shalt thou carry yon fleece to Hellas, far from JEa, I trow. 
I Yet go, whither thou listest, when thou art gone hence." 
So spake she, and dropping her eyes in silence before 
her did wet her cheek, divinely fair, with warm tears, 
mourning the day when he would wander far from her- 

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• L. 1027-1093.] THE AEGONAUTICA. 135 

across the main. And once again she spake to him with 
sad words, taking hold on his right hand, for lo ! shame 
had left her gaze : " Remember the name of Medea, if 
haply thou return one day to thy home ; so will I remem- 
ber thee when thou art gone. And tell me this in kind- 
ness, where is thy home, where wilt thou fare from hence 
in thy ship across the sea ? Wilt thou go haply nigh to 
rich Orchomenus, or may-be toward the ^Eeean isle ? And 
tell me of the maid thou didst speak of, the far-famed 
daughter of Pasiphae, 1 who is of my fathers kindred." 

So spake she, and, as the maiden wept, love in his 
might stole o'er him as well, and thus he answered her, 
** Yea, verily, if I escape my fate, me thinks I will never 
forget thee by night, nor yet by day, if indeed I shall 
escape scatheless to Achsea, and JEetes set not before us 
some other toil yet worse than this. But if it please thee 
to learn of my country, I will tell thee, for much doth my 
heart bid me myself as well. There is a land, ringed 
round with steep hills, rich withal in sheep and pasture, 
where Prometheus, son of Iapetus, begat goodly Deuca- 
lion, 2 who was the first to found cities and build temples 
for the immortal gods, and the first too to lord it over 
men. Hflemonia, the folk who dwell around, do call that 
land. Therein is Iolchos itself, my city, and in it too are 
many other cities, where men have not so much as heard 
the name of the jEaean isle 3 ; there is, indeed a legend that 
Minyas, of the race of JUolus, once started from thence 
and founded the town of Orchomenus, that borders on 

1 Pasiphae was a daughter of Helios, and JEetes was a son of the same 
god ; so that Ariadne and Medea were first cousins. 

3 Deucalion was the son of Prometheus and Pandora ; he was king of 
Thessaly, and with his wife Pyrrha was supposed to be the only sur- 
vivor of a great deluge which flooded the earth in early times. Horace 
alludes to the story in Odes I. ii. 5. 

s M The isle of JEa " was a small island in the river Phasis, in which 
the golden fleece was kept. 

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the Cadmeans. But why do I tell thee all these idle 
tales, and of our home and of famous Ariadne, daughter 
of Minos, for that was the glorious name men gave the 
lovely maiden, of whom thou askest me ? Would that, as 
Minos was then well pleased with Theseus for her sake, so 
too thy father might be at one with us ! " 

So spake he, caressing her with fond and tender words. 
But grief, most bitter, stirred her heart, and in her distress 
she hailed him with earnest speech : " It may be that in 
Hellas these things are fair, to heed the ties of kin ; but 
JEetes is not such another amongst men, as thou sayest 
Minos, the husband of Pasiphae, was ; nor can I compare 
with Ariadne; wherefore tell me nought of hospitality. 
Only do thou, when thou comest to Iolchos, remember 
me; and I will remember thee even in spite of my parents. 
And may there come to me from a far-off land some 
voice, or some bird with tidings, when thou hast forgotten 
me; or may the swift winds catch me up and bear me 
hence across the sea to Iolchos, that I may remind thee that 
thou didst escape by my aid, reproaching thee to thy 
face ! Would I might then sit me down openly 1 in thy 
halls ! " 

So spake she, shedding piteous tears adown her cheeks, 
but Jason caught her up 3 there and said : " God help thee, 
lady ! leave the winds to wander emptily, and that bird 
too to bring thee tidings, for thy words are light as wind. 
For if thou ever come to those abodes and the land of Hellas, 
thou shalt have honour and respect amongst men and 
women, and they shall reverence thee even as a goddess, 
since their sons did return home again by thy counsel, 
yea, and many a brother of theirs and kinsman, and 
strong young husband was saved. And in our bridal 

1 i.e. " would that I might come openly and of right as thy wedded 

■ catting her short, taking her up. 

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L. 1094-1161.] THE ABO ON AUTIC A. 


bower shalt thou make ready our couch, and nought shall 
come 'twixt love and us, ere the doom of death o'er- 
shadow us." 

So spake he, and her heart within her melted as she 
heard, and yet she shuddered at the thought of that dark 1 
enterprise, poor maiden ; but she was not long to refuse a 
home in Hellas. For such was the mind of Hera, that 
iEaean Medea should come to sacred Iolchos, to the bane 
of Pelias, leaving her own country. But now were her 
handmaidens looking about for her silently at a distance, 
much distressed, for the time of day demanded the 
maiden's return home to her mother. But she thought 
not yet of going, for her heart rejoiced both in his beauty 
and his flattering words ; but the son of iEson, seeing that 
it was now late, did say, " 'Tis time to depart, lest the sun 
sink before we know it, and some stranger get to know all ; 
yet will we meet again at this tryst." 

Thus far those twain made trial of each other with 
gentle words ; and then again they parted ; Jason hasting 
back in joy to his comrades and the ship, and she to her 
handmaids ; and they came nigh to meet her in a body, 
but she heeded them not as they gathered about her, for 
her soul had winged its flight to soar amid the clouds. 
With random steps she mounted the swift wain, and in 
one hand took the reins and in the other the carven whip 
to drive the mules withal, and they dashed swiftly city- 
ward to her home. Now when she was come thither, 
Chalciope, in agony for her sons, did question her ; but 
she, at a loss through fear and doubt, heard never a word, 
and made no haste to answer her questions. But she sat 
her down on a low stool at the foot of the couch, leaning 
her cheek on her left hand, and her eyes were wet with 
tears, as she darkly pondered what an evil work she was 
sharing by her counsels. 

1 Irf dtfijXa, " works whose issue she could not see." 

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[book m 

But when the son of JSson was again come among his 
comrades in the place where he had left them when he 
went away, he started to go with them unto the gathering , 
of the heroes, telling them each thing ; and together they 
drew nigh the ship. And the others did warmly greet 
him, when they saw him, and questioned him. And he 
amongst them all did tell the maiden's counsels, showing 
them the awful drug ; only one sat alone apart from his 
comrades, nursing his rage, even Idas ; but the rest in 
gladness, with peaceful hearts, were busying themselves 
the while about their beds, for dark night had stayed their 
hands. But at dawn sent they to Metes two men, to ask 
him for the seed, first of all Telamon, great warrior, and 
with him ^Ithalides, Hermes' famous child. Forth on 
their way went they, nor was their journey in vain, for 
iEetes, the prince, gave them, at their coming, the fell 
teeth for the task of that Aonian 1 dragon, which Cadmus 
slew in Ogygian Thebes at its post by the Aretian spring, 
what time he came thither in quest of Europa ; there he 
dwelt, guided thither by a cow, 3 which Apollo vouchsafed 
to go before him on his way according to his oracle. These 
teeth the goddess Tritonis 3 had drawn from the serpent's 
jaws, and given equally to Metes and to Cadmus, who 
himself slew the monster. Now he, even Cadmus, son of 
Agenor, sowed his share upon the plains of Bceotia, and 
founded a race of earth-born men from the remnant left 
after the harvesting of Ares' spear ; but the rest JEetes at 
that time readily gave them to bear unto the ship, for he 


1 i.e. Boeotian. Bceotia originally was called Aonia. Thebes was 
called Ogygian from a king Ogygus. 

2 Apollo told Cadmus to found a city where the cow, which guided 
him, should halt. Cadmus founded Thebes. 

8 Athene. The goddess gave half the serpent's teeth to Cadmus and 
half to JEetea. Cadmus sowed his share, and raised a nation from the 
residue who remained after the deadly conflict which ensued. 

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L. 1162-1220.] THE ARGONAUTICA. 


never thought that Jason would make an end of his 
even if he should cast the yoke upon the oxen. 

Far in the west the sun was sinking beneath the dark 
earth, beyond the farthest hills of the ^Ethiopians; and 
night was yoking his steeds ; so those heroes made ready 
their beds upon the ground by the hawsers. But Jason, 
soon as ever the stars of Helice, the bright Bear, did set, 
and all the firmament of heaven grew still, gat him to the 
wilderness, like some stealthy thief, with all that was\>' 
needful, for by day had he taken thought for everything ; 
and Argus went with him bringing a ewe and milk from 
the flock, which things he took from the ship itself. But 
when he saw a spot, far from the tread of man, in a clear 1 
water-mead beneath the open sky, then first of all he 
washed his tender body devoutly in the sacred river, and 
then put on a sable robe, which Hypsipyle of Lemnos erst 
gave him, in memory of many a night of love. Next he 
dug a hole in the ground, a cubit deep, and piled therein 
cleft wood, and cut the throat of the sheep and laid it 
caref ully thereupon ; then did he kindle the logs by putting 
fire under, and he poured upon the sacrifice mixed libations, 
calling Hecate by her name Brimo to help him in his toil. 
So then he called upon her and then stept back, and she, 
that awful goddess, heard him and came to the sacrifice of 
the son of iEson from the nethermost hell, and about her 
on the branches of the oaks twined gruesome snakes, and 
there was the flash of countless torches, and the dogs of 
hell howled loudly round her. About her path all the 
meadows quaked, and those nymphs, that haunt marshes 
and rivers, and flit about that water-meadow of the Ama- 
rantian Phasis, 2 cried out. Yea, and fear took hold upon 
the son of JEson, but his feet brought him for all that 

1 KaGapymv, i.e. an open space. 

3 Tbe Amarantians were a race of barbarians further inland beyond 
the Colchians, in whose land the Fhasis rises. 

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[book hi. 

without one glance backward, till he was amongst his 
comrades ; and already Dawn, the child of morning, was 
rising above snow-capped Caucasus and shedding his light 

In that hour JSetes buckled on his stiff 1 breast-plate, 
which Ares gave him, after he had slain with his own 
hand Phlegraean Mimas ; and on his head he put a golden 
helmet, with four plumes, blazing like the sun's round ball 
of light, when he first rises from ocean. In one hand he 
wielded a buckler of many hides, in the other a sword, 
dreadful, irresistible ; that blade could none of the heroes 
have withstood, now that they had left Heracles far 
behind ; he alone could have stood up to battle against it. 
And Phaethon a held his shapely chariot with the fleet 
steeds nigh for him to mount ; so he went up thereon and 
took the reins in his hands. Forth from the town he 
drave along the broad high-road, to take his station in the 
lists, and with him a countless throng hasted forth. Like 
as when Poseidon, mounted on his car, goeth to the 
Isthmian games, or to Taanarus, 8 orcometh in his might to 
the waters of Lerna 4 or through the grove of Hyantian 
Onchestus, and with his steeds he cometh even to Calaurea, 
and the Heemonian rock, or to wooded Geraestum; such 
was JSetes, captain of the Colchians, for to behold. 

Meantime Jason, by the advice of Medea, soaked the 

1 ora&tov, u standing fast, firm, unyielding," so as epithet of vtrfiivri, 
or alone (cf. i. 200) it means " close, hand-to-hand fight," Lat. pugna 

* The other name of Absyrtus, son of <£etes. 

3 Tsenarus, a promontory of Laconia, sacred to Poseidon. 

4 Lerna, a fountain in Argoa. Tavnoi/, %.e. Boeotian. The Hyantes 
were a Boeotian race, and Onchestus is a city in Bceotia. Calaurea is 
an island near Tree am. Haemonia, %,e. Thessaly ; Pindar uses the 
epithet TltrpcuoQ of Poseidon. Geraestus, a promontory of Euboea. 
All the places here mentioned were sacred to the worship of Poseidon, 
and several had temples in the god's honour. 


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In 1221-1273.] THE ABOONATJTICA. 141 

drug, and sprinkled his shield and weighty spear and his 
sword all over ; and his comrades around him tested his 
harness with might and main ; but they were not able to 
bend that spear ever so little, but it remained hard and 
unbroken as before in their stalwart hands. Then did 
Idas, that son of Aphareus, in furious anger, hack the' 
butt end thereof with his mighty sword, but the edge 
leapt from it like a hammer from an anvil, beaten back, 
and the others, the heroes, cheered in their joy, with good 
hope for his emprise. Next did he sprinkle himself as 
well, and into him there entered fearful valiancy, mar- 
vellous, dauntless, and his hands on either side grew 
stronger, swelling 1 with might. As when a war-horse, - 
eager for the battle, leaps and neighs and paws the ground, ^ 
and in his pride pricks up his ears and rears his neck ; in 
like manner the son of Mson exulted in the strength of ' ; 
his limbs. And oft he sprang into the air, hither and 
thither, brandishing his shield of bronze and his ashen 
spear in his hands. Thou wouldst have thought 'twas 
lightning in winter-time, darting from the gloomy sky, and 
leaping, flash on flash, from out the clouds, what time they 
hurry in their wake the blackest storm. 

Now would they hold back no longer from their enter- 
prise, but, sitting them in rows upon the benches, very 
quickly they rowed to yon plain of Ares. Now it lay over 
against the entrance to the town, as far therefrom as is the 
turning-post, which a chariot must win, from the starting- 
place, when at a prince's death his friends appoint contests 2 

1 fftytyouxrai. The word literally = " to be full to bursting, to be 
plump and full," Lat. turgere; then "to be in full health and 
strength," Lat. vigere ; lastly, " to swell with pride," e.g. o^ptyutv 
/n/0oc=:"an arrogant speech" It is an easy transition from one 
meaning to the other. 

2 Funeral games were a regular custom in ancient times. Cf. the 
account, in Homer's Iliad ad fin., of the games instituted by Achilles in 

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for footmen and horsemen. There found they JSetes and 
hosts of other Colchians ; these were stationed on the J 
Caucasian rocks, but he beside the river's winding bank. 

Forth leapt the son of JDson from the ship, with spear 
and shield, unto his task, so soon as his crew had fastened j 
the cables ; and with him he took a gleaming bronze 
helmet, full of the sharp teeth, and his sword slung about 
bis shoulders, with naked ' body, somewhat resembling Ares, 
and haply somewhat Apollo with his sword of gold. One 
glance he took along the lea, and saw the bulls' brazen 
yoke and the plough, made of one piece of ponderous 
adamant, upon it. So he drew nigh, and fixed his strong 
sword upright to the hilt 3 hard by, and set the helmet down 
resting against it. Then he set forward with shield alone, 
tracking the countless traces of the bulls, and they from 
some unseen den beneath the ground, where were their 
strong stalls, all wrapt in smoke and flame, rushed forth 
together, breathing flaming fire. Sore afraid were' the 
heroes at that sight; but he, firmly planting himself, 3 
awaited their onset, as a reef of rock awaits the billows 
driven against it by the countless blasts. And in front he 
held his shield to meet them ; and they together bellowing, 
smote thereon with their strong horns ; yet they heft him 
up never a jot by their attack. As when the good leathern 

honour of his dead friend Patroclus, and VergiPs account of games at 
the death of Anchises. 

1 yv^vbq. Ares was represented in ancient art as a naked old man. 
As far as his nakedness went, Jason resembled him, but in manly 
beauty he was like Apollo, yvpvdg here probably means " with only 
a light undergarment," i.e. without his cloak, a common usage in 

2 i.e. he stuck his sword into the earth far enough to rest the helmet 
against the hilt. 

9 i.e. planting himself firmly to meet the onset of the bulls. Cf. i. 
1199, where the same expression is used of Heracles when he sets him- 
self to pull up the tree by its roots. 

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L. 1274-1324.] THE ARG0NAT7TICA. 143 

bellows of braziers now send forth a jet of flame through 
the holes in the smelting pot, 1 kindling a consuming 
fire, and now again do cease their blast, while an awful 
roar goeth up therefrom, when it darts up from below ; 
even so those two bulls did bellow as they breathed from 
their mouths the rushing fire, and all about Jason ran the 
consuming flame, striking him like lightning; but the 
maiden's spells protected him. Then did he catch the ox 
on his right hand by the top of his horn, and dragged him 
with all his might and main, till he was near the brazen 
yoke, and then he threw him down upon the ground on his 
knees with one quick kick 2 against his brazen hoof. In like 
manner he tripped the other on his knees as he charged, 
smitten with one stroke. And he cast from him his broad 
shield on the earth, and kept those oxen twain where they 
were fallen on their knees, stepping from side to side, now 
here, now there, rushing headlong through the flame. But 
iEetes marvelled at the might of the man. Meantime those 
sons of Tyndarus, — for so had it been long before ordained 
for them, — came near, and gave him the yoke from off the 
ground to cast about them. And he bound it carefully 
upon their necks, and lifting the brazen pole between them, 
made fast its pointed tip unto the yoke. Then those twain 
started back from the fire toward the ship ; but he once 
more took up his shield, and slung it on his back behind, 
and grasped the weighty helmet, full of sharp teeth, and 
his resistless spear, wherewith, like some labourer with a 
Pelasgian goad, he pricked them, thrusting beneath their 
flanks ; and with a firm hand he guided the shapely plough- 
handle, fashioned of adamant. But the bulls, the while, 

1 ore fiev, answered by or' av. Tprjrolc \oavotQ, the \oclvoq (x**") is 
the mould into which the liquid metal is poured for casting. Apparently 
it had holes at the top (r/wjroic, i.e. bored through), through which jets 
of flame leapt up at each blast of the bellows. 

■ i.e. Jason kicked the bull's legs from under it. 

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were exceeding wroth, breathing against him furious 
flaming fire ; and their breath was as the roar of bluster- 
ing winds, in fear of which sea-faring folk do mostly furl 
their wide sail. 

But yet a little while, and they started in obedience to 
the spear, and the grim fallow was cleft behind them, 
broken up by the might of the bulls and the strong plough- 
man. Terribly groaned the clods withal along the furrows 
of the plough as they were brokeu, each a man's burden ; 
and he followed, pressing down the left stilt with heavy 
tread, while far from him he was casting the teeth along 
the clods as each was tilled, with many a backward glance, 
lest the fell crop of earth-born men should rise against him 
ere he was done ; and on toiled those oxen, treading with 
their brazen hoofs. Now when the third part of day, as it 
waned from dawn, was still left, when swinked labourers 
call the sweet unyoking hour to come to them at once] in 
that hour the lea was finished ploughing by the tireless 
ploughman, for all it was four plough-gates ; and he 
loosed the plough from the oxen, and scared them in 
flight o'er the plain. Then went he again unto the ship, 
while yet he saw the furrows free of the earth-born men. 
And he drew of the river's stream in his helmet, and 
quenched his thirst with water ; and he bent his knees to 
supple 1 them, and filled his mighty soul with courage, eager 
as a wild boar, that whets his tusks against the hunters, 
while from his angry mouth the foam runs in great flakes 
to the ground. Lo ! now were those earth-born men spring- 
ing up o'er all the tilth, and the acre of Ares the death- 
dealer was all bristling with mighty shields and twy- 
pointed 2 spears and gleaming helmets; and the sheen 
thereof went flashing through the air from earth beneath 

1 yv6ft\j/€ IXaiftpa. The adjective is probably here a predicate, (t bent 
them into suppleness.'' 

3 i.e. spears pointed at both ends. 

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L. 1325-1388.] THE ABGONATJTICA. 145 

to Olympus. As when, in the murk of night, after a heavy 
storm of snow hath fallen on the earth, the winds do 
scatter the wintry clouds once more, and all the heavenly 
signs at once are seen shining through the gloom ; even so 
those warriors shone as they grew up above the earth. But 
Jason remembered the counsel of crafty Medea, and caught 
up from the plain a great round rock, a fearful quoit for 
Ares 1 the War-god ; four strong men could not have stirred 
it ever so little from the ground. This did he take in his 
hand, and threw it very far into their midst with one 
swing, while himself did boldly couch beneath his shield. 
And the Colchians gave a mighty cry, like the cry of the 
sea when it roars on jagged rocks, but on the king JSetes 
came dumb dismay at the hurtling of that mighty quoit. 
Then did they like sharp-toothed a dogs leap upon it, and 
with loud yells did rend each other ; and they were falling 
on their mother earth *neath their own spears, like pines 
or oaks, which sudden gusts of wind do shake. Like as 
when a fiery meteor shoots from heaven, with a trail of 
light behind, a marvel to mankind, whoso see it dart and 
flash through the darkling air ; in such wise rushed the son 
of iEson on the earth-born men, and he bared his sword 
from the scabbard, and smote them, mowing them down 
one upon another, many in the belly and flanks as they 
were but half risen to the air, and some in the legs as they 
were rising, others just standing upright, and some as they 
were even now hastening to the fray. As when some yeo- 
man, when a war hath broken out upon his boundaries, 
fearful lest men will ravage his fields, seizes in his hand a 
curved sickle, newly- sharpened, and hastes to cut his crop 

1 aokov "AptoQt i.e. a stone big enough to serve Ares for a quoit. 
Enyalias, or the War -god, a Homeric epithet of Ares ; so Enyo is the 
goddess of war, Lat. Bellona. 

2 0oo» = (l) quick, swift, active; (2) sharp, pointed. It occurs in 
both senses frequently in Apollonius. 


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146 apollonius RHODIU8. [book III. L. 1389-1496. 


unripe, nor waiteth for it to ripen in its season by the 
beams of the sun ; even so did he then cut the crop of 
earth-born men, and the furrows were filled with blood, as 
[ the channels of a spring are filled with water. 3 There they 
fell ; some on their faces, biting with their teeth the rough 
clods ; some upon their backs ; others on the palms of their 
hands and sides ; like sea-monsters in shape to behold. And 
many wounded, or ever they had stept forth from the earth, 
bowed their damp brows to the ground and rested there, 
as much of them as had emerged to the air above. Even 
so shoots newly-planted in an orchard do droop to the 
ground, snapped from their roots, when Zeus sendeth a 
torrent of rain, a toil to gardening folk ; and heavy grief 
and bitter sorrow cometh on him who owns the plot of 

1 ground and tends the plants. fSo then o'er the heart of 
king Metes stole heavy grief. And he gat him homeward 
to his town together with his Colchians, musing darkly 
how he might most quickly meet them. 1 
^ And daylight died, and Jason's toil was ended. 

1 i.e. devising some plan to overreach the heroes, and anticipate 
their action. Ooutrtpov, i.e. more quickly than they expected. 

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JEjQtes discovers all ; but meantime Medea has fled to the Argonauts ; 
and by her aid they have taken the fleece and gone. Absyrtus, son of 
-flSetes, gives chase ; but coming up with them is treacherously slain, at 
the mouth of the Ister, by Jason and Medea ; whereat Zeus is angry, 
but Hera ever befriends them. Thence they come to Circe to be purified 
of the murder; and they pass through "the Wandering Rocks/' and 
through Scylla and Charybdis, and past the Sirens, all save Butes ; and 
come unto Corey ra, where Medea is saved by Alcinous from the pursuit 
of the Colchians, and is wedded to Jason. Next they are driven to the 
Syrtis off Libya, and suffer greatly from thirst. Here Canthus and 
Mopsus meet their doom ; and the rest are saved by Triton and sent 
upon their way to Crete, where Talus withstands them, only to fall 
before Medea's magic. 

After this they make a straight run to JEgina, and so without further 
adventure to their home in Thessaly. 

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NOW tell, O Muse, child of Zeus, in thine own words, 
the toil and plans of the Colchian maiden. For 
verily my mind within me is swayed perplexedly, as I 
ponder thereon, whether I am to say, 'twas the sad out- 
come of bitter infatuation or unseemly panic, that made 
her leave the tribes of the Colchians. 

iEetes, of a truth, amongst the chosen captains of his 
people was devising sheer 1 treachery against the heroes all 
night in his halls, in wild fury at the sorry ending of the 
contest ; and he was very sure, that angry sire, that these 
things were not being accomplished without the aid of his 
own daughters. 

But upon Medea's heart Hera cast most grievous fear, 
and she trembled, like some nimble fawn, which the bark- 
ing of hounds hath frighted in the thickets of a deep wood- 
land. For anon she thought, that of a surety her help 
would never escape her father's eye, and right soon would 
she fill up her cup of bitterness. And she terrified her 
handmaids, who were privy thereto ; and her eyes were full 
of fire, and in her ears there rang a fearful sound ; and oft 
would she clutch at her throat, and oft tear the hair upon 
her head and groan in sore anguish. Yea, and in that hour 
would the maid have overleapt her doom and died of a 
poisoned cup, bringing to nought the plans of Hera ; but 
the goddess drove her in panic to fly with the sons of 

1 aiirvvj strictly = steep, but metaphorically as here, "sheer, utter." 
Cf. the expressions aiiriq 6\c9pog, atTrvg 

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r ) 


Phrixus. And her fluttering heart was comforted/ within 
her. So she in eager haste poured from the casket all 
her drugs at once into the folds of her bosom. And she 
kissed her bed and the posts of the doors on either side, 
and stroked the walls fondly, and with her hand cut off 
one long tress and left it in her chamber, a memorial of 
her girlish days for her mother ; then with a voice all 
choked with sobs she wept aloud, " Ah, mother mine ! I 
leave thee here this one long tress instead of me, and go ; 
so take this last farewell as I go far from hence ; farewell 
Chalciope, farewell to all my home ! Would that the sea 
had dashed thee, stranger, in pieces, or ever thou didst 
reach the Colchian land ! " 

So spake she, and from her eyes poured forth a flood of 
tears. Even as a captive maid stealeth forth from a 
wealthy house, one whom fate hath lately reft from her 
country, and as yet knoweth she nought of grievous toil, 
but a stranger to misery and slavish tasks, she cometh in 
terror 'neath the cruel hands of a mistress ; like her the 
lovely maiden stole forth swiftly from her home. And the 
bolts of the doors yielded of their own accord to her touch, 
springing back at her hurried spells. With bare feet she 
sped along the narrow paths, drawing her robe with her 
left hand over her brows to veil her face and fair cheeks, 
while with her right hand she lifted up the hem of her 
garment. Swiftly along the unseen track she came in her 
terror outside the towers of the spacious town, and none of 
the guard marked her, for she sped on and they knew it 
not. Then marked she well her way unto the temple, for 
she was not ignorant of the paths, having wandered thither 
/oft aforetime in quest of corpses and the noxious roots of 
the earth, as a sorceress must ; yet did her heart quake 
with fear and trembling. Now Titania, goddess of the 
moon, 1 as she sailed up the distant sky, caught sight of that 
1 The Moon was the child of Hyperion the Titan and Theia. 

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l. 23-86.] 



maid distraught, and savagely she exulted o'er her in words 
like these, " So I am not the only one to wander to the cave 
on Latmos ; not I alone burn with love for fair Endymion ! 
How oft have I gone hence before thy cunning spells, with 
thoughts of love, that thou mightest work in peace, in the 
pitchy night, the sorceries so dear to thee. And now, I 
trow, hast thou too found a like sad fate, and some god of 
sorrow hath given thee thy Jason for a very troublous 
grief. Well, go thy way ; yet steel thy heart to take up 
her load of bitter woe, for all thy understanding." 

So spake she ; but her feet bare that other hasting on 
her way. Right glad was she to climb the river's high 
banks, and see before her the blazing fire, which all night 
long the heroes kept up in joy for the issue of the enter- 
prise. Then through the gloom, with piercing voice, she 
called aloud to Phrontis, youngest of the sons of Phrixus, 
from the further bank ; and he, with his brethren and the 
son of JSson too, deemed it was his sister's voice, and the 
crew marvelled silently, when they knew what it really was. 
Thrice she lifted up her voice, and thrice at the bidding of 
his company cried Phrontis in answer to her ; and those 
heroes the while rowed swiftly over to fetch her. Not yet 
would they cast the ship's hawsers on the mainland, but 
the hero Jason leapt quickly ashore from the deck above, 
and with him Phrontis and Argus, two sons of Phrixus, 
also sprang to land ; then did she clasp them by the knees 
with both her hands, and spake : " Save me, friends, me 
most miserable, aye, and yourselves as well from JSetes. 
| For ere now all is discovered, and no remedy cometh. 
[Nay, let us fly aboard the ship, before he mount his swift 

1 Latmos is a hill in Caria, where Endymion dwelt in a cave. He 
had incurred the anger of Zeus by becoming enamoured of Hera, 
wherefore he was condemned to sleep for ever j and the Moon saw him 
asleep and was struck by his beauty, so that she came often to the 
cavern on Latmos. 

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horses. And I will give you the golden fleece, when I have 
lulled the guardian snake to rest ; but thou, stranger, now 
amongst thy comrades take heaven to witness to the pro- 
mises thou didst make me, and make me not to go away 
from hence in scorn and shame, for want of friends." 

So spake she in her sore distress, and the heart of the 
son of iEson was very glad ; at once he gently raised her 
up, where she was fallen at his knees, and took her in his 
arms and comforted her, " God help thee, lady ! Be Zeus 
of Olympus himself witness of mine oath, and Hera, queen 
of marriage, bride of Zeus, that I will of a truth establish 
thee as my wedded wife in my house, when we are come on 
our return to the land of Hellas." 

So spake he, and therewith clasped her right hand in his 
own. Then bade she them row the swift ship with all 
speed unto the sacred grove, that they might take the fleece 
and bear it away against the will of Metes, while yet it was 
night. Without delay deeds followed words; for they 
made her embark, and at once thrust out the ship from the 
shore ; and loud was the din, as the heroes strained at their 
oars. But she, starting back, stretched her hands wildly 
to the shore ; but Jason cheered her with words, and stayed 
her in her sore grief. 

In the hour when huntsmen 1 were shaking sleep from 
their eyes, men who trust unto their hounds and never 
sleep away the end part of the night, but shun the light 
of dawn, lest it smite them too soon with its clear beams, 
and efface the track and scent of the game ; in that hour 
the son of jEson and the maiden stept from the ship into 
a grassy spot, called " the Barn's couch," the spot where 
first he rested his weary knees from bearing on his back 
the Minyan son of Athamas. Nigh thereto are the founda- 
tions of an altar, smirched with soot, which on a day 


1 ayporat is here = dypevrai, " huntsmen," not " countrymen," as the 
word properly means. 

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l. 87-150.] 



Phrixus, son of iEolus, did build to Zeus, who aideth 
fugitives, offering that strange creature with his fleece of 
gold, even as Hermes had bidden, when of his good will he 
met him. There it was that the heroes set them down by 
the counsel of Argus. So they twain went along the path 
to the sacred grove, in quest of the wondrous oak, whereon 
the fleece was hung, resting there like a cloud that turns 
to red in the fiery beams of the rising sun. But right in 
their way that serpent with his keen sleepless eyes, stretched 
out his long neck, when he saw them coming, and horribly 
he hissed, so that the long banks of the river and the 
grove echoed strangely all around. Even they heard it, who 
dwelt in the Colchian land very far from Titanian 1 Ma, by 
the mouth of the Lycus, that stream that parteth from the 
roaring river Araxes, and brings his sacred flood to join 
the Phasis ; and they twain flow on together and pour into 
the Caucasian 2 sea. And women in their travail arose in 
terror, and cast their arms in agony about their new-born 
babes, who cried in their mothers' arms, trembling at the 
serpent's hiss. As when, above smouldering wood, count- 
less sooty eddies of smoke do whirl, and one upon another 
rises ever upward from below, hovering aloft in wreaths ; 
so then that, monster writhed his endless coils, covered 
with hard dry scales. But, as he writhed, the maiden 
came in sight, calling with sweet voice Sleep, highest 3 of 
gods, to her aid, to charm the fearsome beast; and she 
called on the queen of the nether world, who roams by 
night, to grant her a favourable enterprise. And the son 
of JjJson followed in fear. But lo ! that snake, charmed 
by her voice, loosened the giant coil of his long spine, and 

1 The land was so called from the river Titan. 
a i.e. the Euxine, into which the Phasis falls, so called from its vicinity 
to the Caucasus. 

3 Sleep is first or highest of gods, inasmuch as all must obey its 

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stretched out his countless folds, like a dark wave, dumb 
and noiseless, rolling o'er a sluggish sea ; but yet he held 
his gruesome head on high, eager to seize them both in his 
deadly jaws ; but the maiden dipt a spray of juniper just 
cut in her thick broth, 1 and sprinkled charms unmixed 
upon his eyes, chanting the while ; and all around him the 
potent smell of the drug shed slumber, and he let his jaw 
sink down upon that spot, and far behind him through the 
trunks of the wood his endless coils were stretched. Then 
did Jason take the golden fleece from the oak, at the 
maiden's bidding ; while she stood staunchly by him and 
rubbed the beast's head with her drug, until the voice of 
Jason bade her turn and come unto the ship, for he was 
leaving the dusky grove of Ares. As a maiden catches on 
her fine-wrought robe the rays of the moon at her full, 2 
when she soareth above the high-roofed chamber, and her 
heart within her rejoices at the sight of the lovely light ; 
so then was Jason glad, as he lifted the great fleece in his 
hands, and o'er his sun-burnt cheeks and brow there 
settled a flush as of flame from the flashing of the fleece ; 
as is the hide of a yearling ox, or of a hind which hunters 
call a brocket, even such was the skin of the fleece, 3 all 
covered with gold and heavy with wool ; and the ground 
sparkled exceedingly before his feet as he went. On strode he 
with it thrown now over his left shoulder, and hanging from 
his neck above down to his feet, and now again would he 
gather it up in his hands ; for he feared exceedingly, lest 
some god or man should meet him and take it from him. 
Dawn was spreading o'er the earth, when they came 

1 A thick hell-broth of magical drugs, such as the witches in 
" Macbeth " are represented as brewing. 

3 To see the moon at her full was a lucky omen for a young bride. 

3 awrov is strictly the best or choicest of its kind, the pick of the 
whole. Here it is used of the finest wool. Homer employs it in the 
same sense, and also of the finest linen, \ivoio Xenrbv dwrov. 

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L. 151-215.] THE ABG0NAUTICA. 


unto their company ; and the young men were astonied at 
sight of the great fleece, flashing like the lightning of 
Zeus. And each man was eager to touch it and take it in 
his hands. But the son of JEson checked them all, and 
o'er it cast a new-made robe ; then he took and set the 
maiden on the stern, and thus spake amongst them all : 
"No longer, friends, shrink now from faring homeward. 
For now is the need accomplished easily by the plans of 
the maiden, for which we dared this grievous voyage in 
toil and sorrow. Her of her own free will I will bear to my 
home to be my wedded wif e ; and do ye protect her, for 
that she was a ready champion of all Achsea and of you. 
For surely, an I think aright, iEetes will come to stop us 
with an armed throng from getting sea- ward from out the 
river. So one half of you throughout the ship row at the 
oars, seated man by man, while the other half hold up your 
oxhide shields before them, a ready defence against the darts 
of the enemy, and fight ye for our return. For now, my 
friends, we hold in our hands our children and our country 
and our aged parents ; and the fate of Hellas hangeth on 
our enterprise, to win deep shame or haply great renown." 

So spake he, and did on his harness of war ; and they 
cried aloud, filled with a strange desire. But he drew his 
sword from the scabbard and cut the stern-cables of the 
ship, and nigh to the maiden he set himself to fight by 1 
the pilot Ancseus, with his helmet on his head ; then on 
sped the ship, as they hasted to row her ever onward and 
clear of the river. 

But now was Medea's love and her work known to proud 
Metes and to all the Colchians, and they gathered to the 
assembly in their harness. Countless as the waves, that 
raise their crests before the wind on a stormy sea, or as the 

1 iraptfiaoKe, " set himself to fight by 91 = t)v Ttapa^arnQ. The irapa- 
/3ar»jc was the warrior who stood beside the charioteer. Cf. Homer, 
Iliad, ii. 104. 

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leaves, that fall to earth through the wood with its thick 
branches in the month when leaves are shed, and who 
shall tell their number? in such countless throngs they 
flocked along the river-banks, with eager cries ; but their 
king iEetes towered o'er all with his steeds in his shapely 
car, those steeds which Helios did give him, swift as the 
breath of the wind ; in his left hand he held his round 
shield, and in the other a long pine-torch, 1 and his huge 
sword was ready drawn before him, and Absyrtus grasped 
the reins of the horses. But the ship was cleaving her 
way out to sea already, driven on by the stout rowers and 
the downward current of the mighty river. Then the king 
in sore distress raised his hands and called on Helios and 
Zeus to witness their evil deeds ; and forthwith uttered he 
fearful threats against all his people, if they should not 
bring the maiden with their own hands, either upon shore or 
finding the ship on the swell of the open sea, that he might 
sate his eager soul with vengeance for all these things, 
while they should know and endure in their own persons 
all his fury and all his revenge. 

So spake iEetes, and on the self-same day the Colchians 
launched their ships and put the tackling in them, and the 
self-same day sailed out to sea ; thou wouldst not have 
thought it was a fleet of ships so much as a vast flight of 
birds, screaming o'er the sea in flocks. 

Swift blew the wind by the counsels of the goddess 
^Hera, that so JEsean Medea might come most quickly to 
the Pelasgian land to plague the house of Pelias ; and on 
the third day at dawn they bound the cables of the ship 
to the cliffs of the Paphlagones, at the mouth 1 of the river 
Halys ; for Medea bade them go ashore and appease Hecate 
with sacrifice. Now that which the maiden did prepare 

1 tc€vkt\ strictly = the fir-tree ; then anything made of it, as here 
" a torch." JEetes intended to fire Argo first of all, and cut off all 

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l. 216-272.] 



and offer in sacrifice, let no man know, nor let my heart 
urge me to sing thereof. I shudder to utter it. Verily ▼ 
that altar which the heroes builded on the strand unto the 
goddess, abideth from that day forth until now, for men 
of later days to see. 

Anon the son of JEson minded him of Phineus, and 
likewise did the other heroes, how that he told them they 
should find a different course from J3a, but his meaning 
was hidden from them all. But to their eager ears did 
Argus made harangue : " Let us now to Orchomenus, 
whither that unerring seer, whom ye met aforetime, fore- 
told that ye would come. For there is another course, 
well known unto the priests of the immortal gods, who are 
sprung from Tritonian Thebe. 1 While as yet the stars, 
which wheel in the firmament, were not ; nor yet was any 
sacred race of Danai to be heard of, but only Apidanean 
Arcadians, those Arcadians who are said to have lived before 
ever the moon was, feeding on acorns in the hills ; nor as yet 
was the Pelasgian land ruled by the famed sons of Deucalion ; 2 
in the days when Egypt, mother of primeval men, was 
called the rich land of the morning, with that Tritonian 
river 3 of seven streams, whereby all that land of the morn- 
ing is watered ; for no rain 4 from Zeus doth wet the soil, 
and yet do crops spring up abundantly at the river's 
mouth. Yea, and they tell how a man 5 went forth from 

1 Thebe in Egypt. The Egyptian priests were the great repository 
of all occult knowledge in ancient times. 

2 " The sons of Deucalion " were said to have founded a dynasty in 
Thessaly, anciently called Pelasgia, from Pelasgus, one of its kings. 

■ Is the Nile. 

4 The theory that rain never falls in Egypt is not authenticated;) 
it does fall occasionally and heavily, though it is true that the rising of) 
the Nile is more to be depended on than the occasional showers. J 

5 The king Sesonchosis, sometimes called Sesostris. Herodotus in 
his account of Egypt gives interesting details respecting this Egyptian 

>y monarch. 

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[book IV 

thence upon his travels through all Europe and Asia, 
trusting in the might and strength of his people and in 
his own courage ; and, as he went, he founded many a 
town, some whereof men haply still inhabit, and some 
maybe no longer ; for many a long age hath passed since 

But Ma, still abides steadfast, and the children of those 
men, whom that king did plant therein to dwell there ; 
these men preserve writings of their fathers, graved upon 
pillars, whereon are all the ways and limits of sea and 
dry land, far and wide, for those who come thither. Now 
there is a river, farthest branch of Ocean, broad and very 
deep for e'en a merchant ship to pass thereon ; they call it 
Ister, 1 and far away they have traced it on their chart ; for 
a while it cleaveth through the bpundless tilth in one 
solitary stream, for its springs roar and seethe far away 
beyond the north wind's breath in the Rhipsean mountains. 

But when it enters the boundaries of Thrace and Scythia, 
thenceforth in two streams it pours one half its waters by 
one channel into the Ionian sea, while the residue it sends, 
after the division, through a deep bay that openeth into 
the Trinacrian 2 sea, which lieth along your coast, if 3 in very 
truth the Achelous flows forth from your land." 

So spake he ; and the goddess vouchsafed them a lucky 
sign, at sight whereof all gave glory to her, that this was 
their appointed path. For before them went a trail of 
heavenly radiance, where they might pass. So there they 
left the son of Lycus, and sailed in gladness of heart across 
the sea, with canvas set, their eyes upon the hills of the 

1 The Ister (modern Danube), according to Apollonius, passing 
through Scythia and Thrace, becomes two streams, one of which falls 
into the Euxine, the other into the Tyrrhenian sea. 

2 Tpivcucpiov, i.e. Sicilian, so called from the three headlands of Sicily, 
Pachynus, Lilybseum, and Pelorus (rpi-wcpat). 

3 ti inbv 6rj. Argus only knew of Hellas by hearsay ; he is uot 
therefore certain if he has heard aright about the river Achelous. 

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Paphlagones. But they did not round Carambis, for 
the winds and the blaze of heavenly fire abode with them, 
till they entered Ister's mighty stream. 

Now some of the Colchians, after a vain search, had 
sailed through the Cyanean rocks into Pontus, while others 
had made for the river under the command of Absyrtus, 
and he had withdrawn a space and entered the "fair 
mouth." So he had just anchored before them beyond a 
neck of land inside the furthest bay of the Ionian sea ; for 
Ister floweth round an island by name Peuce, triangular 
in shape, with its base unto the sea shore, and a narrow 
angle toward the river's stream; around it the river 
branches into two channels. One they call the mouth of 
Narex, the other below the bottom of the island, call they 
the " fair mouth " ; and here it was that Absvrtus and his 
Colchians put in and anchored in haste ; while the heroes 
sailed further up-stream to the top of the island, j^nd in 
the water- meads the shepherds of the country left good 
store of sheep, in fear of the ships, for they thought them 
monsters coming forth from the teeming deep. For they 
had never seen sea-faring ships anywhere before, nor yet 
had the Scythians, who are mixed with the Thracians, nor 
the Sigynni, nor yet the Graucenii, nor the Lindi who 
dwell next to these on the great Laurian steppes. 

Now when they had passed by the mountain of Anchurus 
and the rock of Cauliacus, a little space from that moun- 
tain, round which the Ister parts in twain and rolls his 
full tide this way and that, and past that Laurian plain ; 
then did the Colchians go forth into the Cronian 1 sea, and 
cut off all the routes that they might not escape them. 
But the heroes reached the river after them, and passed 
close to the two Brygean 2 isles of Artemis, where on the 

1 The Adriatic, so called because Cronos had lived upon its shores. 
a BpvytjtSag. The Brygians were a savage Thracian tribe, worship- 
ping Artemis. 

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one was a sacred building, and on the other they did land, 
being ware of the host of Absyrtus ; for the Colchians had 
left those islands within the river void of cities as they were, 
in awe of the daughter of Zens ; though the others, which 
guarded the passages to the sea, were crowded with their 
folk ; and so it was that Absyrtus left his host upon the 
headlands, nigh to the isles, between the river Salangon 
and the Thracian 1 land. 

There would the handful of Minyae have yielded then in 
pitiful fray to their more numerous foes ; but ere that they 
made a treaty and covenant, avoiding the dire quarrel ; 
they were still to keep fairly the golden fleece, since JEetes 
himself had so promised them, if they should fulfil their 
tasks, whether they did wrest it from him by guile or 
haply in the open, against his will ; but for Medea, — for 
there was the quarrel, — they were to deliver her to the 
virgin child of Leto apart from their company, until one of 
the kings, that defend justice, should decide whether she 
must go again unto her father's house, or follow the 
chieftains to the land of Hellas. 

Now when the maiden inly mused on each thing, verily 
A ' ,l » ' c ,c sharp anguish shook her heart unceasingly, and she called 
Jason apart from his crew and led him aside, till they were 
far withdrawn ; then to his face she told her piteous tale, 
" Son of JSson, what is this purpose ye design together 
about me ? hath thy triumph cast such exceeding f orget- 
fulness on thee, and dost thou pay no heed to all that thou 
didst promise in thine hour of need ? where are thy oaths 
by Zeus, the god of suppliants ? where are aU thy honied 
promises fled ? for which, in shameful wise, with shame- 
less will, I have put far from me my country, my glorious 
home, my parents too, all that I held most dear ; and all 
alone am I being carried far over the sea with the sad 

1 N€<m&>c, le. Thracian. The Nestus is a small river in Thrace, 
dividing it from Macedonia. 

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L. 331-395.] THE A.BO0NAUTICA. 161 

king-fishers, for the sake of thy troubles, that by mine aid 
thou mightest accomplish in safety thy toils with the bulls 
and the earth-born warriors. Lastly, 'twas by my foolish 
help thou didst take the fleece when it was found. But I 
have spread a foul reproach on the race of women. Lo ! I 
thought I should come with thee to the land of Hellas as 
thy bride, thy wife, and sister dear. Oh ! save me with all 
good will ! leave me not apart from thee, whilst thou goest 
to the kings. Nay, save me as I am, and let that just and 
sacred bond, that we twain made, be firmly tied ; else do 
thou here at once cleave through this throat with thy 
sword, that I may receive the gift my mad passion has 
deserved. Ah ! woe is me ! if yon king, whose judgment 
ye await in this your bitter covenant, should decide that I 
am my brother's. How shall I come before my father ? 
Will not my fame be passing fair ? what vengeance, what 
grievous torture shall I not endure in agony for the awful 
deeds that I have done ? and thou, shalt thou find the 
return thou longest for ? No, that may the bride of Zeus, 
queen of the world, in whom is thy joy, never bring to 
pass! And some day mayest thou remember even me, 
when thou art racked with anguish ; and may the fleece, 
like a dream, float away from thee into darkness on the 
wings of the wind. Yea, and may my avenging spirit 
chase thee anon from thy fatherland ; so terrible is my 
fate through thy cruelty. Nor is it ordained that these 
curses fall fruitless to the ground, for thou hast sinned 
indeed against a mighty oath, without pity ; nay, ye shall 
not long at your ease wink the eye in mockery of me here- 
after, for all your covenant." 

So spake she, in the heat of her vehement rage ; for she 
[was longing to fire the ship, and tear it all asunder, and then 
to throw herself upon the devouring flame. But Jason, 
though somewhat afraid, made answer thus with soothing 
words: "God help thee, lady! stay thine hand. These 

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things are not after mine own heart. But we seek some delay 
from the conflict, so thick is the cloud of furious foes 
around us for thy sake. For all who dwell in this land 
are eager to help Absyrtus, that they may bring thee home 
again unto thy father, like some captive maid. And we, if 
we meet them in battle, shall all be slain ourselves by a 
hateful doom ; and that surely will be a grief yet more 
bitter, if we die and leave thee a prey in their hands. Now 
this our covenant shall accomplish a cunning wile, whereby 
we will bring Absyrtus to destruction. And they who dwell 
around will never come against us for thy sake after all, to 
pleasure the Colchians, without their prince, who is 1 :U 
thy champion and thy brother; nor will I shrink f in- 
fighting them face to face, if so be they will not let us its 
forth." bed 

So spake he, soothing her ; but she let fall a deac his 
speech : " Hearken now. Needs must one in sorry ^ >on 
- devise a sorry plan ; for at the first was I led astray l x 
mistake, and evil were the desires I had from heaven. In, 
thou in the turmoil ward off from me the spears of the 
Colchians, and I will entice him 2 to come into your hands, 
and do thou welcome him with gladdening gifts, if haply I 
can persuade the heralds to depart and bring him all by 
himself to agree to my proposals. Then, if this deed is to 
thy mind, slay him and join in fray with the ColchiantS ; 
'tis nought to me." 

So they twain agreed and planned great treachery againstr 
Absyrtus, and they gave him many a gift for stranger - 
welcome, and amongst them that dark robe divine of Hy 
sipyle ; the robe which the goddess Graces had made with 
their own hands for Dionysus in sea-girt Naxos, and he 
gave it afterwards to his son Thoas, who left it in turn 

1 i.e. a speech that would bring death to someone — in this case to 
Absyrtus — so that it comes to be predicative or prolative. 

2 i.e. Absyrtus. 

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X» 396-457.] THE AEOOWJLUTICA. 163 

to Hypsipyle, and she gave that robe too, a fair-wrought 
stranger's gift with many another wonder, unto the son of 
^Ison for to take with him. Never wouldst thou satisfy 
thy sweet longing in stroking it or gazing thereupon. And 
the smell thereof was likewise wondrous sweet, from the 
day on which the prince of Nysa 1 himself lay down thereon, 
flushed with wine and nectar, with the fair form of Minos' 
daughter in his arms, whom on a day Theseus had left in 
the isle of Naxos, when she followed him from Crete. 

Now when Medea had declared her meaning to the 
heralds, so as to persuade them to depart, as soon as 
%■» f rtus came by agreement to the temple of the goddess 
^js night's black pall was over all, that so she might de- 
a with him a cunning plan whereby to take the fleece of 
t j/ , and come again unto the house of JEetes ; for, said 
the sons of Phrixus gave her by force unto the 
tigers to bear away. Thus did she persuade them, 
.'crinkling the air and the breeze with magic drugs, such 
^,8 can draw the wild beast from the pathless hill, be he 
never so far away. 

O cruel Love, man's chiefest bane and curse ! from thee 
proceed deadly feuds and mourning and lamentation ; yea, 
and countless sorrows beside all these are bv thee stirred 
up. Up, and arm thee against the foemen's sons, thou 
deity, as in the day thou didst inspire Medea, with her fell 
murderous thoughts. But how did she slay Absyrtus by 
,n evil doom when he came to her ? For that must our 
a g tell next. 

^ When thev had left her in the isle of Artemis, as had 
been agreed, then did these anchor their ships apart from 
one another ; but that prince, Jason, went unto an ambush 
to await Absyrtus and his company. But he, tricked by 
their promises so dire for him, rowed quickly in his ship 

1 Dionysus, who found Ariadne on the island of Naxos, after her 
desertion by Theseus. 

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across the gulf of sea, as the night grew dark, and landed 
on the sacred isle. Straight on his way he went alone, and 
made trial of his sister with words, even as a tender child 
tries a torrent in winter, which not even strong men can 
pass ; if haply she would devise some guile against the 
strangers. So they twain agreed together on all points, 
when on a sudden the son of jEson leapt from the thick 
ambush, clutching in his hand a naked sword ; quickly the 
maiden turned away her eyes, covering them with her veil, 
that she might not see the blood of her brother when he 
was smitten. Him did Jason strike from his ambuscade, 
as a butcher strikes a mighty bull with strong horns, hard 
by the temple, which the Brygians, who dwell on the main- 
land opposite, once had built for Artemis. There at its 
threshold he fell upon his knees, but as the hero breathed 
out his soul with his dying breath, he caught up in his 
hands black blood from the wound, and dyed with crimson 
his sister's silvery veil and robe, as she shrunk from him. 
But a pitiless spirit of vengeance, irresistible, gave one 
quick look askance at the murderous deed they wrought. 
Then the hero, the son of JSson, first cut off some limbs 1 of 
the murdered man, and thrice licked up some blood, and 
thrice spat the pollution from his mouth, for so must they 
make expiation who have murdered a man by treachery. 
Then he buried the clammy corpse in the ground, where 
to this day lie his bones amongst the Absyrtians. 2 

In the same hour the heroes, seeing before them a 
blazing torch, the signal which the maiden raised for them 

1 Those who had committed murder cut off certain extremities of the 
murdered one, by way of averting the curse of bloodshed. These they 
hung as charms about their necks, and also performed certain other cere- 
monies as here mentioned. 

2 'AypvpT&vmv. The followers of Absyrtus were afraid to return to 
JEetea after the murder of his son, so they settled in Illyria, near the 
Ceraunian mountains, under the name of Absyrtians. 

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L. 468-517.] THE A.BQONAT7TICA. 

to cross, laid their ship alongside the Colchian barque, and 
slew the crew thereof, as hawks drive flocks of doves in 
confusion, or fierce lions a great flock of sheep, when they 
have leapt upon the fold. Not one of them escaped death, 
but they fell on the whole crew, destroying them as fire 
doth ; at the last came Jason up, eager to help them, but V 
they had no need of his succour ; but were already anxious 
on his account. Then they sat them down and took sage 
counsel about the voyage ; and as they mused thereon 
came the maiden to join them, and Peleus first made 
harangue : " Lo ! I bid you embark now, while it is yet 
night, upon the ship, and take the passage opposite to that 
which the enemy hold ; for at dawn, as soon as they per- 
ceive all, methinks there is no argument which will urge 
them to pursue us further, so as to prevail with them ; 
but they will part asunder in grievous quarrels, as men do 
who have lost their king. And when once the folk are 
divided, 'twill be an easy route for us, or indeed for any 
who come hither hereafter." 

So spake he, and the young men approved the word 
of the son of JSacus. So they went quickly aboard and 
bent to their oars unceasingly, until they came to the 
sacred isle of Electra, chiefest of isles, nigh to the river 

Now the Colchians when they learnt the death of their 
[prince, were right eager to search the Cronian sea through- 
out for Argo and the Miny®. But Hera restrained them 
[by fearful thunderings and lightnings from the sky. And 
khey ended by being afraid of their own homes in the 
Cy tsean land for fear of jEetes* savage fury. So they came 
to land in different places and settled there securely. 
Some landed on those very islands, on which the heroes 
had halted ; and there they dwell, called after Absyrtus ; 
others built a fenced city by the deep black stream of the 
Ulyrian river, where is the tomb of Harmonia and Cadmus, 

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settling amongst the Encheleans ; and others dwell upon 
the mountains, which are called " the Thunderers," from 
the day that the thunder of Zeus the son of Cronos 
stayed them from going to the island over against them. 

But the heroes, when now their return seemed assured 
them, did then bind their cables on the shore of the 
Hylleans and go forth. For there be groups of islands scat- 
tered there, making the passage through them hard for 
sailors. But the Hylleans no more devised enmity against 
them, as before; but of themselves did further their 
voyage, getting as their guerdon Apollo's mighty tripod. 
For Phcebus gave to the son of JEson tripods twain, to 
carry to that far country, when he journeyed thither in 
obedience to an oracle, on the day when he came to sacred 
Pytho to enquire about this very voyage; and it was 
ordained that wheresoever these were set up, that land 
should never be ravaged by the attack of f oenien. Where- 
fore to this day that tripod is buried in yon land near the 
pleasant city of Hyllus, deep beneath the soil, that it may 
ever be hidden from mortal ken. 

But they found not king Hyllus still living there, whom 
comely Melite bare to Heracles in the land of the Phaea- 
cians. For Heracles came hither to the house of Nausithous 
and toMacris, the nurse of Dionysus, to wash away the awful 
murder of his children ; there did that hero vanquish in 
love's warfare the daughter of the river ^Egeeus, Melite, the 
water-nymph, and she bare strong Hyllus. But he, when 
he grew up, cared not to abide in the island itself, under 
the eye of Nausithous, its prince, but went o'er the Cronian 
sea, having gathered to him the people of the Phseacians 
who dwelt there ; for the hero Nausithous helped him on 
his way ; there did he settle, and was slain by the 
Mentores, as he stood up to do battle for the oxen of his 

But, ye goddesses, how came Argo's wondrous pennon in 

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l. 518-578.] 



clear view outside the sea, about the Ausonian 1 land and the 
Ligystian islands, which are called " the line of isles ? " 
what need, what business brought her so far away ? what 
breezes bare them hither ? 

Zeus, I trow, the king of gods, was seized with fury at 
their deed, when Absyrtus was mightily o'erthrown ; but 
yet he ordained that they should wash away the guilt 
of blood by the counsels of iEsean Circe, and after first en- 
during countless woes should return. Now none of the 
chieftains was ware thereof ; but starting from the land of 
Hyllus they hasted far on their way, and they left on the 
lee those islands of the Liburni that lie in order on the sea, 
peopled formerly by Colchians, Issa and Dusceladus and 
lovely Pityeia. And, next to them, they came unto Corcyra, 
where Poseidon had settled the daughter of Asopus, Cor- 
cyra of the fair tresses, far from the land of Phlius, whence 
he had snatched her in his love ; and sailors, seeing it rise 
darkly from the main with black woodland all around, do 
call it Corcyra the Black. Next passed they Melite, 
rejoicing greatly at the gentle breeze, and steep Cerossus, 
and Nymphsea on the far horizon, where queen Calypso, 
daughter of Atlas, had her home ; and lo ! they deemed 
they saw the shadowy " hills of thunder.' ' Then was Hera 
ware of the angry counsels and the heavy wrath of Zeus for 
their sake ; and forasmuch as she was planning the fulfilment 
of that voyage, she did stir up head-winds, 51 whereby they 
were caught and carried back upon the rocky isle of Electra. 

1 'Avooviriv, i.e. Italy. As a matter of fact, Apollonius is guilty of 
an anachronism in using this name for Italy in the time of the Argo- 
nauts, for it took the title in later times from Auson, the son of Odys- 
seus and Calypso. 

AiyvoribaQ. These islands are three in number, and lie in a row off 
the coast of Italy. 

2 Hera brought them by contrary winds to the island of Electra, in 
order that Jason and Medea might there be purified by Circe of the 
blood of Absyrtus. 

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[book IV 

Anon from out the hollow ship, in mid course, the oaken 
beam from Dodona, which Athene had fitted down the 
middle of the keel, found a tongue and cried out in human 
Toice. And deadly fear came on them as they heard the 
Toice, that told of Zeus's grievous wrath. For it said they 
should not escape a passage o'er a lengthy sea, nor troublous 
tempests, unless Circe purged them of the ruthless murder 
of Absyrtus ; and it bade Polydeuces and Castor pray to the 
deathless gods to grant a passage first across the Ausonian 
sea, wherein they should find Circe, daughter of Perse and 

So cried Argo in the gloom ; and they, the sons of Tyn- 
darus, arose, and raised their hands to the immortals, 
praying for each and all ; for deep dismay was come upon 
the other Minyan heroes. But the ship sped on apace ; 
and they entered far into the stream of Eridanus, where on 
a day Phaethon, smitten through the breast with a blazing 
bolt, fell scorched from the chariot of Helios into the mouth 
of that deep sheet of water, and it belches forth heavy 
clouds of steam from his wound that still is smouldering. 
No bird can spread his light pinions and cross that water, 
but half-way it flutters and then plunges in the flame. 
Bound about the daughters of the Sun 1 sadly raise their 
dirge of woe, as they dance round the tall poplars; and from 
their eyes they shed upon the ground bright drops of amber, 
which dry up on the sand beneath the sun's heat ; but when 
the swollen billows of the dark mere do dash against the 
rocks before the blast of the noisy wind, then are they 
rolled all together along the billowy tide into the Eridanus. 
And the Celts have set this legend to them, how that they 

1 The daughters of the Sun are represented as ever weeping for the 
death of their brother Phaethon, who was slain by the thunderbolt of 
Zeus, for Phaethon had persuaded his father Helios to let him drive his 
chariot for one day, but he had proved unable to manage the steeds, and 
had endangered the safety of the universe. 

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L. 579-640.] THE ▲ROONAUTICA.. 


are the tears of Apollo, son of Leto, hurried away in the 
swirling stream, all those many tears he shed the day he 
came to the sacred race of the Hyperboreans, 1 leaving 
radiant heaven at the chiding of his father, wroth at the 
slaying of his son, whom divine Coronis bare in rich 
Lacereia by the mouth of the Amyrus. So runs the legend 
'mongst those folk. But these felt no desire for meat or 
drink, nor did their spirit turn to mirth. But all day, 
I trow, were they worn out and grievously weakened by the 
foul stench, which the streams of Eridanus sent up unceas- /j 
ingly from smouldering Phaethon ; and all night too 
they heard the shrill lament of the daughters of the Sun, 
loudly wailing ; and as they mourned their tears were/ 
borne along the waters, as it were drops of oil. 

Thence they entered the deep stream of Rhodauus, 
which comes to join the Eridanus ; and at their meeting 
doth the water roar in wild commotion. Now that river, 
rising in a land very far away, where are the portals and 
the habitation of Night, doth pour himself on one side 
upon the ocean's cliffs, on another doth he fall into the 
Ionian sea, while by yet a third channel he casts his 
stream through seven mouths into the Sardinian sea and 
its boundless bay. Thence they sailed into stormy lakes, 
which open out along the vast mainland of the Celts, and 
there would they have met with a foul mishap. For a 
certain off-stream was bearing them into the ocean-gulf, 
and they not knowing were about to sail thereinto; 
whence they would never have won a safe return. But 
Hera sped forth from heaven and shouted from the 
Hercynian rock ; and one and all did quake with fear at 
her shout, for terribly rumbled the wide firmament. So 

1 Apollo left Olympus and went to live among the Hyperboreans, 
the most remote of men, when Zeus had slain his son -flCsculapius, 
because he, i.e. JEsculapius, by his physician's art had raised men to life 
after death. 

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they turned back before the goddess, noting now the way 
along which they must go for their return. At last they 
reached the sea-coast by the counsels of Hera, passing 
through the coasts of countless Celtic and Ligyan tribes, 
without being attacked. For about them the goddess 
shed a thick mist all day as they went. So they sailed 
through the river's midmost mouth and came unto " the 
line of islands, 1 ' saved through the intercession of the sons 
of Zeus ; wherefore are altars and temples builded there 
for ever, for it was not that voyage alone they did attend 
to succour ; but to them Zeus vouchsafed to aid the ships 
also of future mariners. After leaving "the line of 
islands " they sailed to the isle of JSthalia, and there 1 
upon its shingly beach they wiped off in the lists much 
sweat ; and the pebbles on the strand were strewn as it 
were with skin ; and there lie their quoits and tattered 
raiment, wondrous many ; so that the harbour therein is 
called Argo's haven after them. 

Quickly they sailed thence across the ocean swell with 
their eyes upon the Tyrsenian cliffs of Ausonia, and came 
unto the famous harbour of iEaea, and they drew nigh and 
fastened the ship's hawsers on the rocks. There they 
found Circe washing her head in the sea- water, for greatly 
was she scared by the visions of the night. Her chamber 
and the walls of her house seemed to be all running with 
blood, and fire was devouring her store of drugs, where- 
with afore she bewitched strangers, whoso came hither ; 
and she did quench the fire's bright blaze with blood of 

1 It is far from clear what the meaning of these lines is. If we sup- 
pose that the Argonauts held a contest of games, though this is not 
definitely stated, it is possible to extract a meaning ; ie. ca/wmf = as 
they strove in the lists, while the next line might refer to the practice 
of using the strigil or body -scraper by athletes to remove dirt and 
sweat after hard exercise. Lastly, the mention of aoXot, 1 ," quoits," then 
becomes intelligible, and the allusion to rpvxta, " tattered garments/' 
is natural enough in the same connection. 

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l. 641-692.] 



murdered men, scooping it up in her hands ; and so she 
ceased from deadly fear. 1 Wherefore so soon as dawn was 
come, she arose and would wash her hair and raiment in 
the waters of the sea. And beasts, that resembled not 
ravening brutes of prey, nor yet had the form of men, but 
each wore his fellow's limbs in medley strange, came 
trooping forth, like sheep when they throng from the fold 
at the heels of the shepherd. Such creatures earth herself 
produced from the primeval mud, 2 compact of divers kinds 
of limbs, when as yet she was not made solid by the 
thirsty air, nor yet had gotten one drop of moisture from 
the rays of the scorching sun ; but time put these forms 
together and led them forth in rows ; e'en such were the 
shapeless things that followed her. And exceeding wonder 
seized the heroes ; and anon, as each man gazed upon the 
form and face of Circe, easily he guessed she was a sister 
of iEetes. 

Now when she had sent from her the terror of her 
dream by night, at once she started back again, and she 
bade them follow her in her subtlety, caressing them with 
her hand. Now his company abode there steadfastly at 
the bidding of the son of iEson, but he took with him the 
Colchian maiden ; and they twain went with her along the 
road, until they came to the hall of Circe ; then that lady 
bade them sit on fair seats, in great amaze at their coming. 
But those twain without a word or sound darted to her 
hearth and sat them down, as is the custom of sad sup- 

1 XriUv 6\ooio fofioto. Xijyto is here intransitive. " she ceased from 
deadly fear." But whether it means that her efforts to quench the 
flame were successful and so she ceased to be afraid, or whether her 
terror was so acute that she stopped from what she was doing in con- 
sequence, is hard to determine. The Greek is in favour of the first 
rendering, but the context points the other way, otherwise why did she 
purify herself in the morning ? 

a nporipris U iXuof, the primeyal mud from which all things were 
made in the beginning. Cf. " princeps limum * of Horace. 

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pliants, and Medea buried her face in her hands, but 
Jason fixed his great hilted sword in the ground, where- 
with he slew the son of JEetes, but his eye would never 
look her full in the face. In that moment Circe knew, 
'twas murder and blood -guiltiness from which they fled. 
Wherefore in reverence for the ordinance of Zeus, the sup- « 
pliants' god, who is a very jealous god, yet mightily suc- 
coureth murderers, she offered the sacrifice, wherewith 
ruthless suppliants purify themselves when they come to 
the altar. First, to release them from the unatoned 
bloodshed, she held above their heads the young of a sow, 
whose dugs were still full of milk after her litter, and 
wetted their hands in the blood when she had cut its 
skin ; next made she atonement with other libations, call- 
ing on Zeus the while to purify them ; for he is the 
champion of blood-guilty suppliants. And all that she 
used in the cleansing did attendant nymphs, who brought 
each thing to her, bear forth from the house. But she 
within stood by the hearth and burned thereon, praying 
the while, a soothing sop of honey, oil, and meal with 
nought of wine 1 therein, that she might stay the grim 
spirits of vengeance from their fury, and that Zeus might 
be propitious and favourable to them both, whether they 
sought atonement for hands defiled with a stranger's 
blood or haply for a kinsman, themselves his kith and 

Now when all her task was duly done, then did she 
raise them up, and seated them on polished chairs, and 
herself sat near facing them. And straightway she ques- 
tioned them straitly of their business and their voyage, 
and whence they came to her land and house, to sit them 
down as suppliants in such wise. For lo ! a hideous re- 

1 Offerings to the Eumenides must contain no wine, being composed 
of water, milk, and honey. The Erinnys of the murdered man had to 
be appeased. 

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l. 693-753.] 



membrance of her dream came o'er her, as her heart 
mused thereon ; and she yearned to hear the voice of the 
maiden, her kinswoman, soon as ever she saw her lift her 
eyes from the ground. For all the race of Helios was 
manifest at sight, for they shot far in front of them a 
gleam, as it had been of gold, from the twinkling of their 
eyes. Then did she, the daughter of grave JHetes, make 
soft answer in the Colchian tongue to all her questioning, 
telling of the expedition and the journey of the heroes, 
and all their suffering in their hurried toils, and how she 
had sinned aj; the bidding of her sorrowing sister, and 
how she fled with the sons of Phrixus from the awful 
horrors her father might inflict; but of the murder of 
Absyrtus she was careful not to speak. But nowise did it 
escape the ken of Circe ; yet for all that she pitied the 
weeping maiden, and thus unto her said, " Unhappy girl ! 
verily an evil and a shameful return thou hast devised. 
No long time, I trow, shalt thou escape Petes' fearful 
wrath ; for soon will he go even to the homes in the land 
of Hellas, to take vengeance for the murder of his son; 
seeing that thou hast wrought a terrible deed. But, for- 
asmuch as thou art my suppliant and of my race, I will 
devise no further evil against thee at thy coming hither ; 
but get thee from my house in company with this stranger, 
this fellow whom thou hast taken unbeknown to thy 
father ; entreat me not, sitting at my hearth, for I will 
not consent to thy counsels and thy shameful flight." 

So spake she; and grievous sorrow laid hold upon 
Medea, and she wrapt her robe about her eyes and wept ; 
till the hero took her by the hand and led her forth to the 
door of the hall, quivering with terror ; so they left the 
house of Circe. 

But they escaped not the knowledge of the wife of Zeus, 
the son of Cronos ; but Iris told her, when she marked 
them going from the hall. For Hera bade her watch them 




closely, until they came unto the ship, and again she spake 
and hailed her, " Dear Iris, now, if ever thou hast accom- 
plished my bidding, come, speed thee on swift wings 
and bid Thetis arise from out the deep, and come hither 
to me. For need of her aid is come upon me ; and next 
get thee to the cliffs, where the brazen anvils of Heph»stus 
clang to the blows of his heavy hammers, and bid him lull 
his fiery blasts to rest, until Argo has sailed by those cliffs. 
Then go to iEolus, iEolus who rules the wind, children of 
the upper air, 1 and tell him this my mind, that he make all 
wind to cease under heaven, and suffer no breeze to 
roughen the sea; only let a favouring west- wind blow, 
that the heroes may come to the Phaeacian isle of 

So spake she ; and forthwith Iris darted from Olympus, 
cleaving her way, with her light wings outspread. And 
she plunged into the JUgean sea, just where the home of 
Nereus is. And she came to Thetis first, and told her 
tale as Hera bade, and roused her to go to her. Next went 
she to HepheBstus ; and quickly stayed him from his iron 
hammers, and his sooty bellows ceased from their blast. 
Lastly came she to jEolus, famous son of Hippotas. And 
even while she was telling him her message, and resting 
her swift knees from her course, did Thetis leave Nereus 
and her sisters and go from the sea to Olympus, unto the 
goddess Hera, who made her sit beside her, and declared 
her speech ; " Hearken now, lady Thetis, to that which I 
fain would tell thee. Thou knowest how dear to my heart 
is the hero son of JEson, and those others that do help him 
in his toil ; for 'twas I alone, that saved them in their 
passage through the wandering rocks, where erst dire 
tempests roared and the billows boiled round the rugged 
rocks. But now awaits them a journey past the mighty 

1 aiOptiytvUaoiv either = " born in the clear air," or " making the 
air clear." 

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L. 754-815.] THE ARGONAUTICA. 


rock of Scylla, and Charybdis, horribly belching. Nay, 
hear me ; for lo ! 'twas I that with mine own hands tended 
and caressed thee from thine infancy above all others, who 
dwell within the sea, because thou wouldst not yield to 
the importunities of Zeus. For he is ever bent on such 
deeds, to lie with women, be they mortal or immortal. 
But thou, from reverence of me and from fear, didst avoid 
him ; wherefore he then did swear a mighty oath, that 
thou shouldst never be called the wife of an immortal god. 
Yet did he lie in wait for thee an unwilling mate, and 
would not give thee up, until aged Themis told him all, 
how that of a surety it was ordained that thou shouldst 
bear a son better than his father ; wherefore he gave thee 
up, for all his strong desire, in fear that another should be 
his rival and rule the deathless gods, yea, and for ever 
wrest away his power. But I gave thee the best 1 of mortal 
men to be thy husband, that thou mightest find the joys of 
wedlock and bear children ; and to thy marriage-feast I 
bade the gods, one and all, and with mine own hand raised 
the wedding torch, 3 to repay that thy generous respect. 
But come now, I will tell thee a tale that lieth not ; whenso 
thy son cometh to the Elysian plain, he, I mean, whom 
water-nymphs now do tend in the home of the Centaur 
Chiron, though he longeth for thy milk ; needs must 3 he be 
the husband of Medea, daughter of iEetes ; do thou, then, 
as a mother, help thy future daughter, and Peleus as well. 
Why is thy wrath so firmly rooted ? 'Tis blindness ; for 
even to gods will blindness come. Verily I do think that 



1 i.e. Peleus, the father of Achilles. 

3 I performed for you the most sacred rite of bearing the nuptial 
torch at your marriage, a custom usually performed by the mother of 
the bride. 

* An oracle had declared that in the after-world Achilles should wed 
Medea, so Thetis, if she now lends her aid to them, will only be helping 
her future daughter-in-law. 



at my bidding Hephaestus will cease to make bis furious 
fire burn, and iEolus, son of Hippotas, will check the winds' 
swift flight, all save the steady west, until they come to 
the havens of the Phseacians ; so do thou devise for them 
a painless return. My only fear is for thy rocks and 
mountainous billows, which, with the aid of thy other 
sisters, thou canst turn aside. Oh ! leave them not to r - 
drift helplessly into Charybdis, lest with one gulp she take 
them all down, nor let them come to Scylla's foul lair, 
murderous Scylla of Ausonia, whom Hecate that roameth 
by night, bare to Phorcus, whom men call 1 the Mighty 
One,' lest haply she dart upon them with her fearful jaws 
and slay the chosen heroes. But keep thou the ship just 
in the course where there shall be a hair-breadth escape \ 
from destruction.' 1 

So spake she ; and Thetis answered her thus ; " If, of a 
truth, the furious raging fire and the stormy winds shall 
cease, verily I too will with confidence promise to save the 
ship from the wave's attack too, while the west wind is 
piping. But 'tis time to set out upon my long weary way, 
till I shall come unto my sisters, who shall help me, and 
to the place where the ship's cables are fastened, that at 
dawn they may bethink them of winning their returner 

Therewith she shot down from the sky and plungecf 
amid the eddies of the deep blue sea, and she called other 
Nereids, her own sisters, to her aid, and they heard her 
voice and came together,. Then Thetis rehearsed the bid- 
ding of Hera, and sent them all at once to the Ausonian 
sea. But herself, swifter than the twinkling of an eye, or 
the rays of the sun, when he riseth high above the horizon, 
sped quickly on her way through the water, till she reached 
the iEaean cliff of the Tyrsenian mainland. There she 
found the heroes by the ship, taking their pastime with 
quoits and archery, and she drew near and took Peleus, 
son of iEacus, by the hand, for he was her husband, but 

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L. 816-887.] THE ABGONAUTICA. 

no man might see her at all ; only to his eye did she appear, 
and thus spake she : " Abide no longer now sitting on the 
Tyrsenian strand, but at dawn loose the hawsers of the 
swift ship, in obedience to Hera/your champion. For at her 
command my Nereid maids are met, to send your ship in 
safety, and with all speed through the rocks which are 
called * the Wanderers.' For that is your proper route. 
But do thou point me out to no man, what time thou seest 
me present with these ; lay that to heart, lest thou anger 
me in more downright earnest than ever thou hast afore." 

Therewith she plunged unseen into the depths of the 
sea, and sore grief smote Peleus, for he had never seen her 
come, since first she left her bridal chamber in anger, when 
noble Achilles was yet a babe. For the goddess ever used to 
wrap about his mortal body fiery flame through the night, 
and by day she would anoint his tender skin with am- 
brosia, that he might become immortal, and that she 
might ward off hateful old age from his body. But Peleus 
saw his dear son gasping in the flame, and he sprang from 
his bed with a cry of horror at the sight, fond fool! but 
she, when she heard him, cast the screaming babe head- 
long to the ground, and herself passed forth from the house 
in haste, like to a breath of wind or as a dream, and leapt 
into the sea in anger ; and she never came back again. So 
blank dismay tied up his heart ; yet, for all that, he told to 
his comrades all the bidding of Thetis. And they hurriedly 
broke off in the midst and ceased their contests, and 
busied themselves about supper and their pallet beds, 
whereon, when they had eaten, they slept through the 
night, as aforetime. 

But when Dawn, giver of light, was touching the edge of 
heaven, in that hour they went from the land to sit upon 
the rowing benches, as the swift west-wind came down ; 
and from the deep they hauled up the anchors, glad at 
heart ; and made all the rest of the tackling taut as was 

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needful ; and they set the sail, stretching it on the sheets 
of the yardarm. And a gentle wind carried the ship 
along. Anon they beheld an island, fair and full of 
flowers, where the Sirens, clear- voiced daughters of Ache- 
lous, used to charm with their sweet singing whoso cast 
anchor there, and then destroy him. These are the chil- 
dren that comely Terpsichore, one of the Muses, bare to 
Achelous for his love; once they had the charge of 
Demeter's noble daughter, 1 while she was yet unwed, sing- 
ing to her in chorus ; at that time were they part bird, 
part maiden to behold. Ever they keep watch from their 
outlook, with its fair haven ; and many a one have they 
reft of his joyous return, making him waste away slowly ; 
forthwith then to the heroes they wafted their delicate 
voice. And these would at once have cast their cables on 
the rocks, had not Thracian Orpheus, son of JSager, forth- 
with strung his lyre in his hands, and let a hasty snatch 
of quick music ring out loudly, that their ears might be 
dinned as he at the same time swept the twanging chords ; 
and his lyre did drown the voice of the maidens. And the 
west-wind and the roaring wave, rushing astern, together 
bore on the ship, while the Sirens raised their ceaseless 2 
song. Yet even thus Teleon's goodly son, Butes, did alone 
elude his fellows and leapt from the polished bench into 
the sea, for his heart was melted by the clear singing of 
the Sirens ; and he swum through the darkling swell to 
reach that shore, unhappy mortal ! Quickly would they 
rob him of his return then and there ; but the goddess 
Cypris, who watcheth o'er Eryx, 3 did pity him, and 

1 Proserpine, the daughter of Demeter, who was guarded in her 
youth by the Sirens on the plains of Enna in Sicily, until Hades carried 
her away to be his bride. 

a axpiTov either = w unceasing ■ or " unarranged." Cf. the Latin 
" incompositum," as applied to natural melody. 

5 In Sicily. Aphrodite had a temple there. 

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T,. 888-949.] THE ABO01TAUTICA. 179 

caught him up, while he was yet in the eddying wave; 
and with kindly aid brought him to a safe dwelling- 
place on the headland of Lilybeum. So they left the 
Sirens, holden with grief withal; but other perils of 
shipwreck, direr still, did await them in the strait, where 
two seas meet. For on one side arose Scylla's sheer wall 
of cliff, and on the other Charybdis did spout and roar 
unceasingly ; while in another place " the Wandering rocks " 
thundered at the buffet of mighty waves, there where in 
front of them a blazing flame vomited from the top of the 
crags, high o'er a red-hot rock. And the air was murky 
with smoke ; nor couldst thou have seen the rays of the sun. 
Moreover, though Hephrestus had ceased from his work, 
the sea still sent up warm steam. Here the Nereids flocked 
from all sides to meet them; while the goddess, lady 
Thetis, took hold of the rudder-blade behind to drag the 
ship inside "the Wandering rocks." As when dolphins 
come forth from the sea in fair weather, and gambol in 
flocks round a speeding ship, now seen in front, and now 
behind, and yet again alongside, to the joy of the sailors ; 
even so the Nereids darted up and circled in their ranks 
about the good ship Argo, while Thetis steered her course. 
Now when they were just coming nigh unto the Wandering 
rocks, in a moment they drew the edge of their robes up 
above their white knees, and darting up to the very top of 
the cliffs and on to the beach, ranged themselves in rows 
on either side. And the stream smote upon the ship's 
side, and the wave, rising furiously about them, broke 
over the rocks. And these at one moment had their sharp 
points covered as it were with mist, and at another their 
base was seen far down beneath the nether depth, while 
that wild surf poured in floods over them. But they, like 
maids, who play at ball hard by a sandy beach, with the 
folds of their dress rolled up to their waists out of their 
way ; and one catcheth the ball from another and sends it 

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[book IV 

soaring high into the air, and it never reaches the ground ; 
even so they sent the ship on her way from hand to hand 
o'er the crests of the waves, ever clear of the rocks, while 
the water belched and seethed around them. There on the 
top of a smooth rock stood king Hephaestus in person, 
resting his heavy shoulder on the handle of his hammer, 
and watching them ; and above the dazzling firmament 
stood the wife of Zeus, with her arm about Athene's waist, 
so mightily was she frightened at the sight. Long as is 
a day's allotted space in spring-time, so long they toiled, 
heaving the ship through the echoing rocks ; and the 
heroes, catching the wind once more, sped onward, and 
quickly they passed the meadow of Trinacria, where graze 
the kine of Helios. Then did the Nereids plunge beneath 
the depths like water-fowl, for they had performed the 
commands of the wife of Zeus. Now did the bleating of 
sheep come to them confusedly through the air, and a 
lowing of kine smote upon their ears nigh at hand. The 
sheep was Phaethusa, youngest of the daughters of Helios, 
shepherding adown the dewy thickets, with a crook of 
silver in her hand ; but Lampetie herded the kine, bran- 
dishing a herdsman's staff of gleaming orichalcum. These 
kine the heroes saw grazing by the waters of the river 
along the plain and the water meadow ; there was not one 
among them of dark colour, but all, white as milk, with 
horns of gold, moved proudly on their way. By these they 
passed in the day-time ; and in the coming night they cleft 
their path o'er a wide gulf of sea, rejoicing ; till once again 
Dawn, child of morning, shed his light upon their path. 
Now there is in front 1 of the Ionian gulf a rich island, 

1 TrapoiripTi = tpTrpoaQtv. dfiffuKa^g either = thickly covered with 
shrubs and trees, or with a harbour on either side (Schol.). The word 
is perhaps derived from ap<pt Xafielv. Apollonius uses it three times : 
(1) in ii. 733, as epithet of * plane-trees (2) here of an island ; (3) it. 
1366, of a horse. Possibly it means little more than " large," in which 

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L. 950-999.] THE ABG0K1TJTICA 


thickly o'ergrown, in the Ceraunian sea, beneath which, 
legend saith, there lies a sickle — be gracious, ye Muses, for I 
tell not willingly this tale of olden times — wherewith Cronos 
reft his sire of his manhood ruthlessly ; but others say it is 
the reaping-hook of Demeter, goddess of the nether world. 
For Demeter, they say, once dwelt in that land, and taught 
the Titans to reap the corn-crop for her love of Macris ; 
whence it was called " the Hook " 1 by name, and became 
the sacred nursing-mother of the Phaeacians, and so it is 
that the Phaeacians really are by lineage of the blood of 
Uranus. To them came Argo, after stress of many toils, 
driven by the wind from the Trinacrian sea ; and these, 
Alcinous and his people, received them gladly at their 
coming with gracious sacrifice ; and the whole city made 
merry in their honour ; thou wouldst have said, 'twas their 
own sons they were rejoicing over. And the heroes like- 
wise rejoiced among the folk, even as if they had set foot 
in the heart of Haemonia. But soon were they to arm and 
raise the battle-cry, so close behind them hove in sight a 

sense it is nsed elsewhere, e.g. in Herodotus, of elephants. From 
Homer's account we learn that this island, Corcyra, had a harbour on 
both sides, so that it is not unlikely that Alexandrine grammarians 
made use of this fact to account for the meaning of a difficult and un- 
explained Homeric word. 

1 Drepane, i.e. Corcyra, had had a variety of names, viz., Macris, 
Drepane, Scheria, and lastly Corcyra. As the Phieacians, its early in- 
habitants, had been, next to the Phoenicians, the earliest and most enter* 
prising of sailors and colonists, it is not surprising to find it made the 
centre of a mass of legend and myth, at a time when communication, 
especially by sea, was difficult and dangerous. Drepane, otherwise 
Corcyra, mentioned L 988 and 1221, is the modern Corfu, an island off 
the coast of Epirus, famous in the history of Thucydides. It is only 
called Drepane in Apollonius. It must not be confounded with Corcyra 
Nigra (Kkpicvpa pkXcuva), modern Corzola, an island off the coast of 
Dalmatia, passed by the Argonauts soon after they emerged from the 
Rhone. The latter is several degrees further north. Cf. iv. 564- 

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countless host of Colchians, who had passed through the 
mouth of Pontus and the rocks Cyanean in search of the 
chieftains. Above all, they were eager to carry Medea, 
without excuse, unto her father's home ; or else they 
threatened to raise their dire war-cry both then and there- 
after with savage cruelty, after the fashion of Jiletes. 1 

But king Alcinous restrained their eagerness for war, for 
he would fain end their lawless quarrel for both sides without 
going to battle. And the maiden, in deadly fear, earnestly 
implored the companions of the son of JDson by their names, 
and with suppliant hands she touched the knees of Arete, 
wife of Alcinous : " I entreat thee, queen, and be thou 
gracious ; give me not up to the Colchians to take unto 
my father, if haply thou too art 3 only of the race of mortals, 
whose heart rusheth headlong to their doom from trifling 
slips. For I did lose my senses ; 'twas not mad passion led 
me on. Witness the sacred light of Helios, witness the 
rites of the maiden, who flieth by night, the daughter of 
Perses ; 3 never of my own accord would I have started from 
Ma, with strange folk, but grievous terror urged me to plan 
this flight, in the hour of my sin, for there was no other 
remedy. Still is my honour pure and chaste, as in my 
father's house. Oh ! pity me, great lady, and implore thy 

1 <ri>v 'Air/rao «X«i;fy>, i.e. not only would they do all they threatened, 
but they would do it after the fashion of ^etes (if this is what this extraor- 
dinary expression means). kiKivBoq certainly is occasionally used in much 
the same way as rp6iroQ. Metes has the reputation of being cruel and re- 
lentless, so it is as much as to say " relentlessly. " avOL re xai perkireiTa — 
ai>Qi = avro9i— " at once on the spot and afterwards as well," i.e. they 
would give them no peace from their vengeance, like true followers of 

2 <f*pfa a h lit. u thou art fed," here = il, " thou art." 

3 Hecate, the daughter of Perses and Asteria. As one who dealt in 
sorcery and witchcraft, Medea would naturally swear by the queen of 
darkness, who was supposed to have all black arts in her special 

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L. 1000-1057.] THE ABGONAUTICA. 


lord ; and may the gods grant thee a perfect life, and joy, 
and children, and the glory of a town unsack^d." 1 

Thus did she implore Arete through her tears, and thus 
each man of the chieftains in turn : " For you, ye peerless 
princes, and for your toils wherein I have helped you, am 
I sore afflicted ; for by my help ye yoked the bulls, and 
reaped the deadly harvest of earth-born warriors, and by 
my means will ye return to Haemonia anon, and bear with 
you the golden fleece. Lo ! here am I, a maid who hath 
lost country, parents, home, aye, all the joy in life ; while 
for you I have contrived a return unto your country and 
your homes ; and ye will yet see your parents with glad 
eyes ; but from me god's heavy hand hath reft all joy, and 
I wander accursed with strangers. Fear your covenant and 
your oaths ; fear the spirit who avengeth suppliants, and 
the resentment of the gods, if I fall into the hands of 
iEetes to be slain with grievous outrage. I have no temple, 
no tower of defence, no protection else, but on you, and you 
alone, I cast myself. Woe to your cruelty, ye pitiless men ! 
ye have no reverence in you for me, though ye saw me 
helplessly stretch out my hands to supplicate the stranger 
queen ; yet would ye, in your eagerness to get the fleece, 
have met the whole Colchian nation and proud iEetes too 
in battle ; but now have ye forgotten your chivalry, when 
there be but these, and they severed from their people." 

So prayed she ; and each of those she did entreat, 
encouraged her, striving to stay her anguish. And they 
brandished well-pointed lances in their hands, and swords 
drawn from their sheaths ; for they declared they would 
not hold their hands from her succour, if they should meet 
with unrighteous judgment. But on the weary warriors, 
thronging there, came down the night, that puts an end to 

1 Not an unusual wish in heroic times, when life and property were 
anything but safe. To become the prey of a conquering invader must 
Lave been the constant dread of women in these disturbed times. 

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toil, and shed calm o'er all the earth together ; but to the 
maiden's couch came no sleep, no, never so little ; but her 
heart within her breast was wrung with anguish. As when 
a toiling woman winds her thread the livelong night, and 
about her moan her orphan babes, now she is widowed ; 
and the tear-drop courses down her cheek, as she weepeth 
for the piteous lot that hath fallen to her ; even so Medea's 
cheeks were wet, and her heart within her was throbbing, 
pierced with sharp agony. 

Now those twain, the lord Alcinous and Arete, his wife 
revered, were in their house within the city, as aforetime, 
pondering the maiden's case, upon their bed by night ; and 
thus the wife addressed her lord and husband with per- 
suasive 1 words : " Dear husband, come, rescue this poor 
maiden, I pray thee, from the Colchians, doing a favour to 
the Miny®. For Argos and the men of Hsemonia are very 
nigh unto our island, but ^Eetes neither dwelleth near us, 
nor know we aught of him save by hearsay ; and this poor 
suffering maid hath broken my heart by her entreaties. 
Give her not over to the Colchians to take to her father's 
home, O king. 'Twas blindly done, when she did give him 
at the first her drugs to charm the oxen ; and now, to cure 
one evil by another close upon it, as oft we do through our 
mistakes, she hath fled from the awful fury of her proud 
father. Moreover Jason, as I hear, is bound by a mighty 
oath of his own taking to make her his wedded wife within 
his halls. Wherefore, dear husband, make not the son of 
JEson to perjure himself, at least if thou canst help it ; 
nor let the father in his fury do his child some terrible in- 
jury, when thou canst stay it. For parents are exceeding 
jealous of their children ; such punishment did Nycteus 

1 OaXtpoifft, etym. BaXiiv, so = (1) blooming, fresh; vigorous, active ; 
(2) luxuriant, abundant. Apollonius uses it twice elsewhere, in iii. 
1 14, as epithet of an orchard ; in iii. 1127, of young married men. The 
transition from " vigorous " to " persuasive " is not difficult. 

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L. 1058-1103.] THE ABGONAUTICA. 185 

devise for Antiope, 1 fair of face ; so grievous were the woes, 
again, that Danae * endured upon the deep, all through her 
father's infatuate folly ; yea, and but lately, and not so far 
away, did Echetus 3 in wanton cruelty thrust bronze spikes 
into his daughter's eyeballs ; and now she wastes away by 
a piteous fate, grinding bronze 4 for corn within a gloomy 

Thus spake she in entreaty ; and his heart melted at the 
words of his wife, and thus he answered, " Arete, I would 
even drive out the Colchians with their harness for the 
maiden's sake, doing a favour to the heroes. But I do fear 
to slight the just ordinance of Zeus. Nor is it well to treat 
iEetes lightly, as thou sayest; for there is no mightier 
prince than he. And if he will, he will carry his quarrel 
against Hellas, though he come from far. Wherefore it 
behoveth me to give the judgment that shall seem best 
amongst all men, and I will not hide it from thee. If she 

1 Antiope, the daughter of Nycteus, was ravished by Zeus, who had 
changed himself into a satyr for the purpose. Her father was so 
enraged that she had to fly for her life, and came to Sicyon, where she 
bore Zethus and Amphion, and suffered many hardships for her secret 

a Danae was the daughter of Acrisius. Her father had been told by 
an oracle of Apollo that, if his daughter bore a son, this son would 
cause his death. So Acrisius went to Argos, and there shut his daughter 
up straitly in a tower of brass, but Zeus was enamoured of her beauty, 
and introduced himself to her in a shower of gold, despite her keepers. 
Perseus was the issue of their love. Acrisius, in his anger, set mother 
and child adrift on the sea, but fishermen saved them. In after years, 
when Perse us grew up, he engaged in some games at Larissa; and 
there, by accident, threw a quoit upon the foot of Acrisius and slew 
him, and so the oracle was fulfilled. 

3 Echetus is also mentioned by Homer as the most savage of men, as 
one who delighted in mutilating and torturing all who came within his 

4 Apparently the barbarous Echetus had KpiQai made of bronze for 
his daughter to grind, in order to render her toil harder and more 

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be yet a maid, my decision is, that they carry her back to 
her father ; but, if she share a husband's bed, I will not 
separate her from her lord ; nor, if she carry a child within 
her womb, do I give her up unto her enemies." 

So spake he ; and forthwith fell asleep. But she laid 
up in her heart his wise words, and at once arose from her 
bed, and went about the house ; and the women, her hand- 
maids, hastened together, bustling about their mistress. 
Quietly she had her herald called, and told him her com- 
mands, in her shrewdness eager that the son of -33 son 
should at once wed the maiden, and so avoid entreating 
king Alcinous ; for this was the decision he would carry 
with his own lips to the Colchians, that, if she were yet a 
maid, he would deliver her to her father's house ; but, if 
she were already some man's wife, he would sever her no 
more from honourable love. 

So spake Arete, and quickly his feet bare him from the 
hall, that he might announce to Jason the fair speech of 
Arete, and the plan of godlike Alcinous. And he found 
them keeping watch by the ship in harness in the Hyllic 
harbour, near to the town ; so he told them all his message, 
and the heart of each hero was glad, for he spake a word 
that pleased them right well. 

At once they mixed a bowl for the blessed gods, as was 
right, and dragged sheep to the altar with pious hands, 
/and made ready that very night for the maiden her bridal 
v bed in the holy cave, where Macris once did dwell, the 
^ j daughter of Aristaeus, the bee-keeper, who discovered the 
jiuse of honey and the fatness of the olive, prize of toil. 
She it was, that at the first took to her breast the Nysean 
son of Zeus in Eubcea, home of the Abantes, 1 and with honey 
she moistened his parched lips, when Hermes brought him 

1 'Ev/3oi'i|c 'A^avriSo^ Eubcea was anciently called AbantU, from 
the Abantes who came from Phocis and Bettled there. 

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L. 1104-1162.] THE ARGON AUTICA. 


from out the fire; 1 but Hera saw her, and in her rage droye 
her right away from the island. So then she came to 
dwell far away in the holy cavern of the Phseacians, 
and she granted to the folk around wondrous pros- 
perity. There then they strewed a great couch, and 
upon it did throw the glistering fleece of gold, that the 
marriage might have honour and renown. And the 
nymphs plucked every kind of blossom and brought them 
in their white bosoms, and a blaze as of fire played round 
them all ; so bright was the radiance gleaming from the 
golden tufts. And it kindled in their eyes a sweet desire, 
yet reverence prevented each one from laying hands 
thereon, for all her longing. Of these some were called 
the daughters of the river jEgseus ; others dwelt about the 
peaks of the hill of Melite, and some came from the plains, 
woodland nymphs. For Hera herself, the wife of Zeus, 
had sent them, in honour of Jason. And that cave, to this 
day, is called Medea's sacred grotto, where they spread fine 
linen, very fragrant, and wedded those twain together. 
Meantime the heroes brandished in their hands their war- 
like spears, that no unseen host of foes might fall upon 
them to fight withal, ere the deed was done ; and wreath- 
ing their heads with leafy boughs, they sung in tune to the 
clear music of Orpheus a marriage hymn at the entrance 
to the bridal bower. Now the hero, the son of JEson, was 
not minded to complete his marriage now, but in the halls 
of his father, on his return to Iolchos ; and Medea, too, 
was of like mind with him. But needs must they wed 

1 t* Trwpof. Dionysus, the son of Zeus and Semele, was saved when 
his mother perished through her own folly in desiring to see Zeus 
appear in all his majesty. The mother was killed by the blaze of the 
lightning (cf. the opening of Euripides' "Baccb8e"),but Hermes snatched 
the untimely babe from her womb and carried it to Zeus, in whose side 
it was sewn up until the proper time for its birth arrived. Zeus then 
handed it over to the nymph Macris to rear, but Hera's jealousy perse- 
cuted Maoris relentlessly in consequence. 

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[book IV. 

then and there. Yea, for never do we tribes of suffering 
mortals embark on happiness without alloy; but ever 
there cometh with our gladness some bitter grief. Where- 
fore they too, for all their joy of sweet love, were holden 
with fear, whether the decision of Alcinous would be/ 
fulfilled. jtf 
Then came Dawn again with his light divine, and broke 
up the gloom of night throughout the sky ; and the island 
beach and the dewy paths across the plains laughed out 
afar ; and in the streets was the noise of men; for through 
the city the inhabitants were astir, and the Colchians far 
away at the end of the Macridian peninsula. Anon went 
Alcinous to them, as he had agreed, to declire his purpose 
concerning the maiden, and in his hand he neld his golden 
wand of judgment ; whereby the folk had righteous judg- 
ment dealt them throughout the city. And with him came 
the chiefs of the Phaeacians in their warlike gear, drawn 
up in ranks. And forth from the towers came the women 
in crowds to see the heroes, and with them came the 
country folk when they heard thereof, for Hera had sent 
forth a sure report. One brought the chosen ram of his 
flock, and another a heifer that never yet had worked, and 
others set jars of wine nigh at hand for mixing ; and the 
smoke and flame of sacrifice leapt up in the distance. But 
the women brought fine linen, fruit of honest toil, as 
women will, and toys of gold, and divers ornaments beside, 
such as couples newly-wed are furnished with ; and they 
were astonied to see the form and beauty of the noble 
heroes, and the sod of iEager in their midst oft beating the 
ground with his rich sandal in time to his ringing lyre and 
song. And all the nymphs in chorus, whenever he made 
mention of marriage, raised a joyous wedding hymn ; and 
yet again would others sing alone, as they circled round in 
the dance in thy honour, O Hera; for 'twas thou, who 
didst put it in the heart of Arete to speak her word of 

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li. 1163-1224.] THE ABGONAUTICA. 


wisdom to Alcinous. But he, so soon as he had declared 
the issue of his judgment, and when already the marriage 
was declared complete, took good care that so it should 
jabide for ever ; for no deadly fear, nor the grievous threats 
L>f JEetes touched him, but he held fast bound by the oath 
lie would not break. 

So when the Colchians learnt that they were come to him 
in vain, and he bade them either hold his ordinances 
in honour or withdraw their ships far from the harbours of 
his land; then but not before were they afraid of the 
threats of their own king, and besought Alcinous to receive 
them among his people ; so for a very long time afterward 
they dwelt among the Phseacians, until the Bacchiadse, 1 a 
race of men that came from Corinth, settled among them 
after a while ; then they crossed to the island over against 
them, and from thence they were soon to go to the Cerau- 
nian hills of the Abantes and the Nestseans * and to Oricum ; 
but these things happened after a long lapse of years. Yet 
still do the altars, which Medea builded there to the Fates 
and the Nymphs in the holy place of Apollo, god of shep- 
herds, receive their yearly sacrifice. Now when the Minyse 
went away, Alcinous gave them many a stranger's gift, and 
Arete did the like; moreover she gave to Medea twelve 
Phaeacian slave-girls from her house, to bear her company. 
'Twas on the seventh day they left Drepane ; and a fresh 
breeze came forth from Zeus at dawn, and they went hast- 
ing onward before the breath of the wind. Still it was not 
ordained for the heroes yet to set foot in Acheea, till they 

1 BaxxiaSat. Bacchius, a son of Dionysus, founded a dynasty at 
Corinth, called the Bacchiadae, who held sway until an act of cruelty 
roused the Corinthians to expel them. So they came to Corcyra, and 
colonized it, driving out the Colchians, who were there already. 
'Etpvpr)Gcv } i.e. from Corinth, Ephyra being its old name. 

* Another name for the Thracians, from the river Nestus in 




had toiled somewhat further, even in Libya's utmost 

Lo! they had even now left the bay behind, that is 
named after the Ambracians ; even now had they left, with 
all sail set, the land of iEtolia 1 and next thereto the isles of 
the Echinades with their narrow passage, and the land of 
Pelops just hove in sight, when the baleful blast of the 
north- wind caught them in mid course and swept them 
nine whole nights and as many days towards the Libyan 
sea, till they came right within the Syrtis, 3 whence cometh 
no ship forth again, when once 'tis forced inside that gulf. 
For all around are shoals, and masses of sea* weed on every 
side, and thereon are bubbles of noiseless foam, while on 
the dim horizon stretches a plain of sand. No creeping 
thing nor winged creature moveth thereupon. 'Twas here 
that the flood-tide thrust them far up the beach on a sud- 
den, and only a little of the keel was left in the water, for 
yon tide full oft recoils from the land, and then again with 
furious onset discharges itself over the beach. 

But they leapt, forth from the ship, and sorrow seized 
them, when they beheld the great wide stretch of misty 
land, reaching on and on into the distance like a haze ; nor 
could they see any place to water in, nor path, nor herds- 
men's steading far away ; but all was wrapt in deathless 
calm. And one would ask his neighbour sorrowfully, 
" What land doth this call itself ? whither have the tem- 
pests thrust us forth ? Would that we, setting deadly fear 
aside, had dared to try the way even betwixt the rocks! 
Far better had it been to go even beyond the will of Zeus 
and die, venturing some high resolve ! For now what can 
we do, if we be forced here to abide holden by the winds, 

1 Kovprjriv, i.e. jEtolia, from the Curetes who inhabited Pleuron in 

* 2tiprtv, a dangerous sandbank on the coast of Africa. There were 
two of this name, called the Syrtis Major and Minor. 

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l. 1225-1287.] 



be it never so short a while ? so desolate is the strand of 
this vast land, that looms before us." 

Thus would he say; and amongst them Anc»us, the 
helmsman, made harangue, sore grieved himself at the 
hopelessness of their evil case : " We are undone, it seems, 
by a most grievous fate, and there is no escaping from our 
trouble, but now must we suffer ghastly woes where we 
have fallen on this wilderness, if haply the winds blow 
steadily from the land, for I see on all sides a sea of shoals 
after a wide look-out, and the water is fretted into long 
lines of foam as it washes just the surface of the gray sand. 
Yea, and long, long ago would yon sacred ship have been 
miserably shattered far from the shore, unless the tide 
itself had borne her high ashore from out the deep. But 
now hath it rushed back sea- ward, and nought but spray 
and spray alone, that covereth but the top of the ground, 
breaks about us. Wherefore I deem that all hope of our 
voyage and our return is utterly cut off. So let some other 
shew his skill, for he may sit at the helm striving to win 
our escape. But Zeus hath no great wish to bring about 
the day of return, after all bur toil." 

So spake he through his tears ; and all they that knew 
aught of ships spake with him in his distress; but the 
heart of all, I trow, was cold and stiff, and paleness spread 
o'er their cheeks. As when men move like lifeless spectres, 
about a town, awaiting the end that war or famine bring, 
or the issue of some fearful storm, which hath washed away 
acres of the oxen's toil ; 1 or when images do sweat and 
of themselves run down with blood, and bellowing is heard 
in sacred shrines, or the sun maybe at noon brings 
night from the sky, while through the gloom the stars 
shine bright; even so the chieftains wandered now, 
groping their way along the weary strand. Anon dark eve 

1 i.e. the tilled lands. 



came down upon them; and they, piteously embracing 
each other, were fain to weep, that thereafter they might 
lie down, each man apart, to die upon the sand. Hither 
and thither they went their way to find a resting-place 
further off ; and then they wrapped their heads in their 
cloaks and laid them down without meat 1 or drink the whole 
night and the dawn, waiting a death most miserable. 
Apart from them beside the daughter of JBetes her 
maidens moaned, huddled all together. As when in the 
wilderness young birds unfledged fall from a hole in the 
rock and loudly do they twitter ; or as when on the banks 
of fair-flowing Pactolus 2 swans lift up their melody, and the 
dewy meadow echoes around, and the river's fair streams ; 
even so those maidens, casting their golden tresses in the 
dust, wailed the livelong night a piteous lament. And all, 
then and there, would have vanished from among the 
living, out of the ken of mortal men, yea, those chosen 
heroes on their aimless quest, had not the heroines, 9 who 
watch o'er Libya, pitied them hopelessly wasting away ; 
these be the goddesses, who erst, when Athene sprang 
in bright armour from her father's head, 4 met her at the 
waters of Triton and bathed her. 'Twas noon, and terribly 
the sun's piercing rays were scorching Libya ; when lo ! 
they stood beside the son of iEson, and lightly drew his 

1 aKfirivoi, with accent proparoxytone = fasting, must be carefully 
distinguished from aKfirivoi = full-grown. The derivation of the first 
is uncertain ; the latter is from aKfirj. 

a A river in Lydia whose waters were said to flow with gold, from 
the large amount of it washed down in the sand. 

3 Apparently these are demi-goddesses or tutelary deities of the 
country, who watch over Libya, and are honoured there with divine 

4 U trarpbQ re^aXijjc. The legend was that Zeus, being troubled with 
severe pains in his head, sent for Hephaestus, who with a blow of his 
hammer cleft open the skull of Zeus, whence issued Athene, full-grown 
and in full armour. 

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l. 1288-1340.] 



mantle from his bead. But he cast down his eyes and 
looked aside, in reverence for the goddesses. And they 
with gentle words spake nnto him alone openly in his 
affliction, u Poor wretch ! why art thou so cast down ? We 
know ye went in quest of the golden fleece ; we know each 
toil of yours, all the wondrous things that ye have done in 
your wanderings o'er land and sea. We are the goddesses 
of this land ; here tend we sheep, 1 and speak the speech of 
men ; heroines we, daughters of Libya and warders of her 
land. Up now ; no longer be so disquieted with grief, and 
rouse thy comrades. But mark, when Amphitrite doth 
loose anon the smooth-running car of Poseidon ; in that 
very hour make recompense to your mother 8 for all her 
travail in bearing you so long time in her womb ; and so 
shall ye yet return to holy Acheea." 

So spake they, and forthwith vanished from their place, 
as their words died away. But Jason sat up on the 
ground and looked about him, and thus spake he: "Be 
gracious, noble goddesses, who dwell in this wilderness, 
but I understand not very clearly what ye said about our 
return. Verily I will gather my crew together and tell 
them all, if haply we can find somewhat that points to 
our escape; for the wisdom of many is better than the 
wisdom of one." 

Therewith he sprang up and cried aloud to his com- 
rades, all squalid with dust, like a lion, who roars as he 
seeks his mate through the woodland; and the glens in 
the mountains far away tremble at his deep voice ; and 
oxen in the field and they that herd them shudder horribly 

1 oiottoXoi, probably derived from oif, iroXetv, i.e. tenders of sheep, 
cf. 1. 1411, infra. Another derivation is from oloc, iriXopai = being 
alone, solitary. The word is found in both significations, but the first 
meaning suits the context of Apollonius best. 

2 The ship which had carried them so long like a mother in her 


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[book IV. 

witli fear. Tet had his voice nought to make them shud- 
der, friend calling unto friends. So they gathered near 
him with downcast looks, and he made them sit down in 
their sorrow nigh to where the ship lay, together with 
the women, 1 and made harangue, declaring each thing : 
" Friends, hearken ; there stood above my head, very nigh 
to me, as I lay grieving, three goddesses, girt in goat- 
skins from the neck above about the back and waist, like 
maidens ; and with light hand they drew aside my robe 
and uncovered my head, bidding me rise up myself, and 
go rouse you; and they bid us pay bounteous recom- 
pense unto our mother for all her travail in carrying us 
this long time in her womb, whenso Amphitrite shall 
loose the smooth-running car of Poseidon. Now I cannot 
wholly understand this message divine. They said, in- 
deed, that they were heroines, daughters of Libya and 
warders of her land. Yea, and they declared that full well 
they knew everything that we ourselves had endured ere 
this on land and sea. Then I saw them no more in their 
place, but some mist or cloud came betwixt us and veiled 
their brightness." 

So spake he, and they were all astonied as they lis- 
tened. Then came unto the Minyse this wonder passing 
strange. From out the sea toward the land leapt forth a 
monster horse ; a mighty 2 steed was he, with mane of gold 
floating in the wind; lightly he spurned the salt foam 
from his legs and started on his course with legs that 
matched the wind. Then up spake Peleus with a cry of 
joy among his comrades gathered there: "Verily I do 

1 i.e. Medea and her twelve Phaeacian handmaids, given her by 

2 dft^CKau^Q either ss " vast, huge," its usual meaning in Herodotus, 
or " having hair on both sides," i.e. " shaggy. 7 ' Probably the former, 
as the mane of the horse is also definitely mentioned, and to add another 
similar epithet would be redundant. 

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L. 1341-1395.] THE ABGONAUTICA. 195 

think that Poseidon's chariot hath already been loosed by 
the hands of his dear wife, and I deem that our mother is 
no other than the ship herself ; for surely she doth bear 
us in her womb and groaneth unceasingly in hard travail. 
Come, we will lift her up with unshaken might and tireless 
shoulders and carry her within this sandy country, whither • 
yon swift steed is gone before us. For he, brave beast, 
will not plunge beneath the dry ground, and I trow his 
tracks will show us some bay of the sea far inland." 

So spake he ; and his ready counsel pleased them all. 
This is the tale the Muses told ; and I, the servant of the 
Pierian maidens, do sing it; and this is what I heard 
in all honesty, that ye, brave sons of kings, exceeding 
bold, did lift your ship and all ye took therein high 
upon your shoulders and carried her in your might and 
manhood o'er the desert sandhills of Libya twelve whole 
days and as many nights. Yet who can tell the pain and 
anguish these men endured in that toil ? Surely they were 
of the blood of the immortals, so great was the work they 
took upon them under the stress of need. Now when they 
had carried her right gladly far to the waters of the lake 
Tritonis, 1 straightway they waded in and set her down from 
their stalwart shoulders. 

Then like hounds, mad with thirst, they darted forth to 
find a spring ; for to their misery and suffering was added 
parching drought. But not in vain did they wander ; and 
they came to the sacred plain/where but yesterday Ladon, 2 

1 A lake in Libya. 

• Ladon was the huge serpent which guarded the apples of the Hes- 
perides, and was slain by Heracles a few days before the arrival of the 
Argonauts in Libya. The Hesperides were nymphs, daughters of 
Phorcus and Ceto, who ministered to the wants of the guardian snake. 
On the appearance of the Argonauts they changed into dust and ashes, 
until Orpheus besought their aid, when they resumed their original 
forms under the names Hespere, Erytheis, and JEgle, and showed the 
Argonauts where to find water. 

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[book rv. 

a serpent of that land, did guard the golden apples in the 
place of Atlas, while about him the Hesperides used to 
busy themselves, singing their lovely song. But now, lo ! 
he was fallen against the trunk of the apple-tree from the 
wound that Heracles had given him ; only with the tip of 
his tail was he still writhing, but from his head unto the 
end of his dark spine lifeless he lay ; and where the arrows 
had left their bitter gall in the blood of the Lernasan snake 
flies were busy at his festering wounds. And near him 
the Hesperides raised their loud lament, their fair white 
arms clasped about their golden hair ; when on a sudden 
came the heroes nigh to them, and lo ! at once those maidens 
turned, as they stood, to dust and ashes, even while the 
men came hasting on. But Orpheus was ware of the 
divine marvel, and for his comrades' sake he lifted up a 
prayer to the maidens: "Ye queens divine, so fair and 
kind, be gracious, whether ye are counted amongst the 
goddesses of heaven, or those of earth, or are called the 
nymphs that tend the sheep-fold; come, maidens, holy 
race of Oceanus, appear to us face to face, and show us at 
our desire some fount of water gushing from the rock, or 
some holy stream bubbling up from the earth, whereat, 
O goddesses, to quench the thirst, that parches us un- 
ceasingly. And if we come again some day o'er the sea to 
the land of Achcea, then will we offer you gladly countless 
gifts amongst the first of goddesses, with drink-offerings 
and rich feasts." 

So prayed he aloud ; and the goddesses from their sta- 
tion nigh had pity on their suffering, and first of all they 
made grass spring up from the earth, and above the grass 
tall shoots sprang up ; and next young trees in bloom shot 
high o'er the ground and stood upright. Hespere became 
a poplar, Erytheis an elm, and iEgle a willow with sacred 
trunk. And from these trees their forms looked out, even 
as they were before, a wonder passing strange ; then spake 

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L. 1396-1459.] THE ARGONATJTICA. 


JSgle to their longing ears a gentle answer, " Yea, verily 
there hath come hither one that can succour your troubles 
full well, that man accursed, 1 who robbed our guardian 
snake of life, and is gone taking with him the golden 
apples of the goddesses ; and grievous woe is left to us. 
Yestreen there came a man, a very fiend in form and 
wanton violence ; his eyes gleamed from under his grim 3 
forehead ; a ruthless wretch ; and he was girt about with 
the skin of a huge lion, rough and untanned, and he bare 
a heavy bough of olive, and a bow, wherewith he shot to 
death yon monster- snake. And he too came all parched with 
thirst, as a wayfarer might ; and wildly he rushed about 
this place in quest of water, but none was he likely to see, 
I trow. Now here stood a rock nigh to the lake Tritonis, 
which he, strong giant, smote with his foot below, on pur- 
pose or mayhap by some god's prompting; and yonder 
spring gushed out at once. Then did he, sprawling with 
hands and chest upon the ground, drink a mighty draught 
from the cleft in the rock, till, like a beast with head 
thrown forward, he had filled his deep belly." 

So spake she ; and gladly they hasted with joyful steps, 
until they found the spot where iEgle had told them of 
the spring. As when burrowing ants crawl in swarms 
about a narrow hole, or as when flies, lighting about a 
tiny drop of sweet honey, do throng there in terrible 
eagerness ; even so the Minyse then were thronging around 
the spring in the rock ; and thus would one say in his 
gladness as he moistened his lips, " Lo ! you now ; in very 
sooth, Heracles, though far away, hath saved his comrades 
dying of thirst. Aye, would that we might find him on 
his way, as we pass through the mainland ! 99 

Therewith, when such as were ready for this work, 

1 i.e. Heracles, who had slain the snake. 

a fikoavpoQ, a word of uncertain etymology with two meanings, 
( 1 ) grim, stern, (2) burly, manly. 

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had answered ; they started up and parted, hither and 
thither, to search ; f o/on the night- wind a sound of steps 
had come rolling to their ears, as the sand was stirred. 
Forth sped the two sons of Boreas, trusting to their wings ; 
and Euphemus, relying on his fleetness of foot ; and 
Lynceus too, to cast his keen glance far and wide ; and 
yet a fifth hurried to their side, even Canthus. Him, I 
trow, did heaven's high will and his brave soul send forth 
upon that journey, that he might learn for certain from 
Heracles, where he had left Polyphemus, son of Elatus ; 
for he was minded to question him on every point about 
his comrade. But Polyphemus had founded a famous 
town among the Mysians, and then, anxious to return, had 
gone in quest of Argo afar across the mainland ; and he 
came meantime to the land of the Ohalybes, that live 
beside the sea ; there did his fate o'ertake him. And his 
tomb lieth beneath a tall poplar, facing the sea, a little 
space therefrom. But now Lynceus thought he saw 
Heracles alone, far away over the boundless shore, just as 
a man seeth, or thinks he seeth, the new moon through a 
mist. So he came, and told his companions, that no one 
could ever track him further and o'ertake 1 him on his way ; 
and back those others also came, Euphemus, fleet of foot, 
and the two sons of Thracian Boreas, after fruitless toil. 

But on thee, Canthus, fate laid her deadly hold. Thou 
didst come upon flocks at pasture ; but the man that did 
shepherd them slew thee with the blow of a stone for sake 
of his sheep to prevent thee from carrying them off to thy 
needy comrades ; for Caphaurus was no feeble foe, that 
grandson of Lycorean 3 Phoebus, and of the chaste maid 
Acacallis, the daughter whom Minos on a day did bring to 

1 firj . . . Ktxtifffptv, i.e. no one would overtake him now at that 

3 AvKwptioio = AeX^ueov, for the Delphians were originally called 
Lycorians, from Lycoreia, a town in the neighbourhood of Delphi. 

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L. 1460-1514.] THE AEGONAUTICA. 

dwell in Libya, bearing in her womb a heavy load 1 from 
the god ; and she bare a noble son to Phoebus, whom men 
call Amphithemis, or Garamas. And Amphithemis in his 
turn lay with a Tritonian nymph, who bare to him Nasa- 
mon and strong Caphaurus; he it was, who now slew 
Canthus, in defence of his sheep. Yet was not he, strong 
warrior, to escape the stern hands of the heroes, when they 
learnt what he had done. For the Minyae, when they 
knew it, took up his corpse and brought it back and buried 
him ; but those sheep the heroes took unto themselves, 
mourning the while. 

There too upon the self- same day relentless Fate laid her 
hand upon Mopsus, son of Ampycus, nor could his divina- 
tion save him from his bitter doom. For there is no way 
to hinder death. Now there was lying on the sand a fear- 
some snake, seeking to avoid the noontide heat, too sluggish 
indeed purposely to wound an unwitting foe, nor yet would 
it have darted at one who shrunk from meeting it. But 
on whomsoever it once should dart its black venom of all 
living creatures that have breath, whom Earth the life- 
giver doth nurture, for him is his road to Hades not so 
much as a span long ; no, not even if the healing god 2 
should be his leech (if I may speak openly), when that 
snake hath but grazed him with its fangs. For when god- 
like Perseus, whom his mother also called Eurymedon, 
flew over Libya, carrying to king Polydectes the Gorgon's 
head just severed, 3 all the drops of dark blood, that fell to 

1 Ku/ua, by syncope for Kvrjpa. 

9 Ylair)<x)v, Ionic for Uatav, the physician of the gods. Later the 
name was transferred to Apolk), who was invoked by the cry tqtc 

3 Perseus, called also Eurymedon, was commanded by Polydectes, 
king of Seriphos, to bring to him the head of Medusa the Gorgou, 
which had the power of turning all who gazed on it into stone. Perseus, 
however, by the aid of Hermes and Athene, who gave him winged 
sandals, a cap to render him invisible, and a bright shield in which he 

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[book IV. 

the ground, did breed a race of those serpents. Now Mopsus 
trod upon the reptile's back with the sole of his left foot ; 
but the snake, writhing round in pain, bit and tore the 
flesh 'twixt his shin and calf. And Medea and the other 
women, her handmaids, fled in terror ; but he bravely 
handled the bleeding wound, for it did not vex him very 
much, poor wretch ! Verily even now beneath the skin a 
lethargy, that looseth the limbs, was spreading, and o'er 
his eyes fell a thick mist. Anon his heavy limbs sank 
upon the ground, and he grew cold and helpless ; and his 
comrades gathered round him, and the hero son of J2son, 
sore dismayed at this chain of disasters. Not even, when 
dead, might he lie ever so short a time in the sun; for the 
venom at once began to rot the flesh within, and the hair 
decayed and fell from the skin. So, quickly and in haste, 
they dug a deep grave with brazen picks ; and themselves 
and the maidens likewise tore their hair, bewailing the 
dead man's piteous fate ; and thrice, in harness clad, they 
marched round him, when he had gotten his fair meed of 
burial ; and then heaped up the earth above him. 

But when they were gone aboard, — for the south wind 
blew across the sea, — and were determined to go on their 
way across the lake Tritonis, no longer had they any plan, 
and so were driven at random the livelong day. As a 
serpent creeps along his crooked path, when the sun's 
piercing heat doth scorch him, and twists his head from 
side to side, hissing the while, and his eyes withal flash 
like sparks of fire in his fury, till he hath crept to his 

might see the Gorgon's reflection without meeting the monster face to 
face and so being turned into stone, accomplished his quest. Then he k 
brought the head to Polydectes, and turned him and his people into 1 
stone, because they had formerly refused him hospitality. After this, I 
Athene took the head, and placed it as a blazon on her shield. Legend I 
said that as Perseus flew over Libya with his spoil, the blood which 
fell from the freshly -severed head turned into the most venomous 

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L. 1515-1573.] THE AEOONATJTICA. 


hole through a cleft ; even so Argo long time was busy 
seeking an outlet for ships from the lake. Anon Orpheus 
bade bring out from the hold Apollo's mighty tripod, and 
set it up before the gods of that land to be a propitiation 
for their return. So they went and set up on the shore 
the gift of Phoebus, and mighty Triton met them in the 
semblance of a young man, and taking up a clod of earth 
he offered it unto the chieftains as a stranger's gift with 
these words, " Take this, good friends ; for no great gift have 
I here by me to give to strangers at their request. But if ye 
desire to know aught of the ways of this sea, as men oft 
crave, when voyaging over strange waters, I will tell you. 
For lo ! my father Poseidon made me very knowing in this 
sea, and I am king of the sea-coast, if haply in your distant 
home ye ever hear of Eurypylus, 1 born in Libya, home of 
wild beasts." 

So spake he ; and gladly Euphemus held out his hands 
for the clod, and thus addressed him in reply, " Hero, if 
haply thou knowest aught of Apis 2 and the sea of Minos, 
tell us truly at our asking. For hither we are come, not of 
our own will ; but, brought nigh to the bounds of this 
land by tempestuous winds, we did carry our ship shoulder- 
high to the waters of this lake across the mainland, groan- 
ing 'neath the weight ; but we know not at all, where lies 
the route for coming to the land of Pelops." 

So spake he ; and the other stretched out his hand and 
showed them far away the sea and the lake's deep mouth, 
and thus he said, 44 Lo ! yonder is the outlet to the sea, just 
where the deep water lies black and still, and on either side 
white breakers seethe 3 with crests transparent ; betwixt the 

1 Son of Poseidon and Celaeno, king of Cyrene in Libya. 

3 An island off Crete, t. e. Mare Creticnm, so called from Minos, a 
legendary king of Crete, who had put down piracy and organized a naval 

3 <ftpiaaovaiy etym. ty>£, i.e. the ruffling of a smooth surface — the 

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breakers there is 1 your course, a narrow one to sail outside. 
And yonder sea, that spreads to the horizon, 3 reaches above 
Crete to the sacred land of Pelops ; but steer 3 toward the 
right hand when ye enter the gulf of sea from the lake, keep- 
ing close the while along the shore, till it extends inland ; 
but when the coast-line bends the other way, then your 
course lies safe and straight before you, starting from that 
projecting angle. Now go in joy ; and as for toil let none 
repine that limbs, still in their youthful vigour, have to 

their haste ; but he meantime, even Triton, took up the 
mighty tripod and was seen to enter the lake, but after 
that no man saw him, how he vanished so near them, 
tripod and all. And their heart was cheered, for that one 
of the blessed gods had met them in kindly mood. And 
they bade the son of Mson offer in his honour the choicest 
of their remaining sheep, and raise the song of praise, 
when he had taken him. Quickly that hero chose him 
out with haste, and, having taken him up to the stern, 
there sacrificed him, and prayed, " God, who didst appear 
upon the bounds of this lake, whether the daughters of 

ruffling or ripple caused by a gust of wind sweeping over a smooth sea. 
typiooitv is also used of any rough appearance (of. Lat horrescere), e.g. 
of corn-fields, of a body of spearmen. Hence the meaning '< to shudder 
with fear, to dread a person," also 44 to thrill " with strong emotion, 
e.g. t<ppi£' iputn. 

1 rtXiBii merely = fori. 

2 vmjtpiov, i.e. with nothing but sky around ; you lose sight of the 
land altogether. 

3 After leaving the Tritonian lake and making the sea, they are to 
coast closely along the shore till they come to a gulf ; then sail across 
its mouth to a headland opposite ; after which they can make a straight] 
course across the ^Egaean. (A glance at a map will best explain the 
directions here given ; they seem fairly accurate, and are not difficult to 
identify *) 


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L. 1574-1621.] THE A.BG0NAUTICA. 


ocean 1 call thee Triton, wonder of the deep, or Phorcys, or 
Nereus, be favourable and grant the accomplishment of 
our return, as we desire." 

Therewith and as he prayed, he cut the throat of the 
sheep and cast him from the stern into the water. And 
lo ! the god appeared from out the deep in his own true 
form. As when a man will train a fleet horse for the 
wide race-course, holding the obedient creature by his 
bushy mane, and running the while beside him, and the 
horse, with proud arching neck, follows his guide, and in 
his mouth the bright bit rattles in answer as he champs it 
this way and that ; even so that strong god laid his hand 
on the keel of hollow Argo and guided her seaward. Now 
from the top of his head and about his back and waist as 
far as the belly, he was wondrous like the blessed gods in 
form ; but below the loins stretched the tail of a sea- 
monster, forked this way and that, and with the spines 
thereof he cleft the surface of the^water, for these parted 
below into two curved fins, like to the horns of the moon. 
On he led the ship, till he brought her on her way into the 
sea, and then suddenly he plunged beneath the mighty 
depths ; and those heroes cried out, when they saw the 
strange marvel with their eyes. There is the harbour of 
Argo, and signs a left by the ship, and altars to Poseidon 
and Triton ; for they stopped there that day. But at dawn 
they set sail, keeping that desert land upon the right ; and 

1 aXocvivai, "children of the sea/' a name mostly applied to Thetis 
and Amphitrite. Etym. u\q vSvw. 

2 It is not clear what these signs were, possibly a pictorial design, or 
a model of the ship, or some ship implement such as an oar, set up to 
commemorate the coming of Argo to the place. We have frequent 
mention made of crrjfiara placed on the barrows of heroes' tombs, gene- 
rally their weapons, or something that they prized in life, which should 
tell their story to future ages. The phrase ohpara vijoc occurs supra^ 
J. 552, where possibly it means either the flag of Argo or her figure- 

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on they sped before the breath of the west wind. And on 
the next morning they saw a projecting tongue of land 
and an inland sea lying beyond it. Anon the west wind 
ceased, and the breath of the clear south came on, and 
they were glad at heart for the wind. But when the sun 
sank, and rose the star, that bids the shepherd fold 1 and 
stays the ploughman from his toil ; in that hour of pitchy 
night the wind fell ; so they furled the sails and stooped 
the tall mast, and took to their polished oars lustily all 
night and day and the next night as well. And in the 
distance craggy Carpathus a welcomed them ; thence were 
they, strong rowers, soon to cross to Crete, which standeth 
out above all other isles upon the sea. 

But brazen Talos prevented them from mooring, when 
they came to the roadstead of the Dictsean haven, by 
breaking off rocks from the hard cliff. He was a descen- 
dant of the brazen stock of men, who sprung from ash 
trees, 3 ranking among jjlemi-gods ; him the son of Cronos 
gave to Europa, to be the warder of the island of Crete, 
whereabouts he roameth with those brazen feet. Now 
truly he is made of brass, unbreakable, in his limbs and 
all the rest of his body ; only beneath the tendon by the 
ancle was a vein 4 of blood, and thin was the skin that 

1 darrjp auXioc, t.£. Hesperus, the evening star, tivkiravatv 6i£vpovQ. 
The adjective is perhaps predicative, so that the expression means 
" stays the ploughman from being wretched," i.e. by ending his toil. 

3 KapiraQog , one of the Sporades, not far from Cos. 

9 After the golden age and the silver age came the brazen age. The 
race of men then born were so hard, says Hesiod, that they were said 
to have sprang from ash-trees {fit\ia yiyvopat). To this age belonged 
Talos, the brazen giant who kept guard over Crete, and was absolutely 
invulnerable save in one spot, where a vein of blood near the ancle held 
all that was mortal in him. 

4 ovpiyt is anything shaped like a pipe ; here a vein. 8, Ionic for 
oc, demonstr. pronoun. The 8 \«7rrdc vp$v is only an expansion of 
ovpiyl, i.e. that one vein with its thin covering of skin held the issues of 
life and death. 

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L. 1622-1672.] THE ABGONAUTICA. 


covered it with its issues of life and death. So the heroes, 
though sore f oredone with toil, quickly backed from the 
land in grievous fear. And now would they have got them 
far from Crete sorrowfully, suffering both from thirst and 
pain, had not Medea hailed them as they drew away : 
" Hearken to me. For me thinks I can by myself master 
yon man for you, whoever he is, even though he hath his 
body all of brass, seeing that his life is not to last for ever. 
But keep the ship here, nothing loth, out of stone-throw, 1 
till he yield himself my victim." 

Thus spake she, and they held the ship out of range, 
waiting to see what plan she would bring to work unex- 
pectedly. Then did she wrap the folds of a dark cloak 
about both her cheeks and went upon the deck ; and the 
son of JCson, taking her hand in his, guided her steps 
along the benches. Then did she make use of witching 
spells, invoking the goddesses of death, 3 that gnaw the 
heart, the fleet hounds of Hades, who hover all through 
the air and settle on living men. Thrice with spells she 
invoked their aid with suppliant voice, and thrice with 
prayers ; and, having framed her mind to evil, she be- 
witched 3 the sight of brazen Talos with her hostile glance, 
and against him she gnashed 4 grievous fury and sent forth 
fearful phantoms in the hotness of her rage. 

0 father Zeus, verily my heart within me is moved with 
amaze to see, how death o'ertakes us not merely by disease 

1 Lpu>t)c. Iptar) = any quick violent motion, e.g. the flight of a spear, 
and, as here, the rush of a missile stone. 

3 Kripag. Krip is the goddess of fate or death, usually employed in 
the plural, for there were three KijptQ in ancient mythology, who ap- 
peared to men on the eve of their death. 

3 ifiiyrjpev dMirac literally = grudged him the sight of his eyes, so> 
that he was unable to see where he was going. 

4 irptev x°*° v > gnashed her teeth in her fury against Talos. Cf. 
Lat. " stridere (or) frendere dentibus." irplu literally = " I saw, cut 
in twain.'' 

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[book IV. 

and wounds, but lo! even from a distance a man may 
harass us ; just as that giant, for all his brazen frame, 
yielded himself a victim to the might of Medea, the 
sorceress ; for, as he did heave great heavy stones to pre- 
vent their coming to the haven, he scratched his ancle 
against a sharp point of rock, and forth gushed the stream 
of life like molten lead, nor could he stand any longer on 
his pinnacle of jutting rock. But like some towering pine, 
high on the hills, which wood-cutters have left half -cleft by 
their sharp axes, when they came down from the wood ; at 
first it quivers in the blast at night, then at last it snaps at 
the bottom and falls; even so that mighty giant stood 
towering there awhile upright on his tireless feet, then fell 
at last with mighty crash, a strengthless mass. So then 
the heroes spent that night after all in Crete ; and after 
that, just as dawn was growing bright, they built a temple 
to Minoan Athene, and drew water and embarked, that 
they might row as soon as possible beyond the headland of 
Salmoneus. 1 

Anon, as they were hasting o'er the wide gulf of Crete, ( 
night scared them, that night men call " the shroud of 
gloom." No stars nor any ray of the moon pierced through 
its horror ; but it was black chaos come from heaven, or 
haply thick gloom rising from the nethermost abyss. And 
they knew not so much as whether tfcey were drifting into 
Hades or along the water, but to the sea they committed 
their return, not knowing whither it would carry them. 
Then Jason, with uplifted hands, cried aloud to Phoebus, 
calling on him to save, and his tears ran down in his dis- 
tress ; and he promised he would bring great store of gifts 
to Pytho 2 and to Amycbe, and likewise to Ortygia. Lightly 
didst thou come, son of Latona, from heaven, in ready re- 
sponse, unto the rocks of Melas, which lie there in the sea, 

1 A promontory of Crete. 

a Pytho, Amycl®, and Ortygia are various seats of Apollo's worship. 

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L. 1673-1738.] THE ARGONAUTICA. 


and on the top of one of the twin peaks thou didst settle, 
holding thy golden bow on high in thy right hand ; and 
the bow flashed a dazzling radiance all around. Then a 
little island 1 of the Sporades appeared in sight of them, 
fronting the tiny isle of Hippuris; and there they cast 
anchor and waited. Anon the dawn arose and showed his 
light, and they made for Apollo a noble enclosure and an 
altar, with trees above, in a shady grove, calling Phoebus 
" radiant god " because of his far-seen radiance ; and the 
bare isle called they "isle of appearing," for that Phoebus 
did there appear to them at their sore need. And they 
offered all that men can find to offer on a barren strand ; 
and so it was that when Medea's Phseacian damsels saw 
them pouring libations oi watoi on %h* 
they could nu lou#er keep Jaark thqu 

breasts, f< >i th^h a ft eref mtm toot in ptaH, 

Sails o^flcinou ut ifae fcfToes, glad at their jesting, 

m ith words of abuse ; and among them 
irrV so and of taunting gibe and raillery; and 
S^K>ort of the heroes the worn. mi do strive on this 
with tlif men in the island, when they will appease 

PpBacrifice Apollo, " god of radiance," champion of his 
e of appearing." 
But when they had loosed their cables thence in calm 
weather, then did Euphemus remember a vision he saw in 
he night, in awe of the famous son of Maia ; 8 for it seemed 
o him that that strange clod, held in the palm of his 
hand, was being suckled at his breast with white streams 
of milk ; and out of the clod, little though it was, grew a 
woman, like to a virgin ; and he, o'ercome by strong desire, 
lay with her in love's embrace ; but in the act he pitied 
her as though she were a maiden, whom himself was feed- 
ing with his milk ; but she comforted him with soothing 

1 A little island called Anaphe, near Thera. 
a Hermes was the god who aent Yiiioni to men. 


words : " Dear husband, I am the daughter of Triton, t i 
children's nurse, no maiden I ; for Triton and Libya 4 
my parents. But give me back to the maidens of Ner -4 
to dwell within the deep nigh to 'the isle of appearin i 
and I will come back again to the sun-light, ready to ht 
thy children." 1 

Of this vision Euphemus now minded him, and he told 
it to the son of iEson ; and he, when he had pondered 
awhile the oracles of Hecatus, uttered his voice, and said i 
" Lo ! you now ; verily there hath fallen to thee a grea^ 
and glorious fame. For of yon clod the gods will make ai 
island for thee, when thou hast cast it into the sea, when 
thv children' 8 children in davs to come shall dwell ; for 
Triton <; <4is«ft lo tk«e» thi* clod of the Libyan main- 
aaa^taiggit'sifiift ; rf'MaapNte-iotfeer than he of th* 
: i . 1 1 1 1 oHMf^bo^tiflia mad mw*% we fhi 

So spake he, and Euphetorrufe* mrfie jiofcnhght of tli 
answer of the son of JSson, but flung tbsijiod into tli 
deep, cheered at the word of prophecy. Tbenrfrom r« 
the isle Calliste, 2 holy nurse of the children of Eap&enrm 
who at first dwelt some time in Sintean Lenintw, fc 1 
being driven from Lemnos by Tyrseuians, tliey came t 
Sparta as suppliants ; and, when they left Sparta, Ther; 
goodly son of Autesion, brought them to the isle of Calliste, 
and it took the name of Thera from him in exchange for 
its own. But these things happened after the time of 

And when they were gone hence, they sailed steadily 
through the boundless swell, and stopped at the beach of 
iEgina. Here on a sudden arose an innocent strife among 
them about the drawing of water, who should be first to 

1 vnrolitaaiv ss Hkvoiq, in which sense this word is always used by 
Alexandrine writers. 

3 The isle of Calliste, afterwards called Thera, from Theras, son of 
Autesion. who colonized it from Sparta. 

Googl : 

L. 1739-1779.] THE ARGONAUTICA. 209 


draw his jar, and get him to the ship again ; for need 
nd the ceaseless breeze hurried them alike. There, to 
his day, 1 the young men of the Myrmidons take up full 
jars upon their shoulders, and at once dart off to race 
striving for the victory. 

Be gracious, O race of blessed chieftains ! and from year 
to year may these songs be sweeter to sing to men ! For 
now am I come unto the end of your glorious toils ; for 
there was no further adventure ordained you as ye came 
from iEgina, nor did hurricaues rise against you, but 
calmly ye coasted by the land of Cecrops and past Aulis, 
in under Eubcea and the towns of the Opuntian Locri, till 
with gladness ye stept forth upon the strand of Pagasse. 

1 m vvv, i.e. the custom is still observed amongst their 


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